Thirteen years after the anthropologist Mike Poltorak arrived to do research on psychiatry and spirit possession, he returns to create a filmic dialogue, between two people he knows extremely well, but do not know each other. The only Psychiatrist Dr Mapa Puloka has overseen the largest and most public expansion of psychiatry on the main island of Tongatapu. He has embraced media to communicate his translations of psychiatric diagnoses, inspired by Tongan terms.
One day ferry’s ride north in the island of Vava’u, Emeline Lolohea, one of the most famous spirit healers continues to heal people who have been effected by spirits. Torn between the security of science and radical challenge of spirits, Mike sets out to make a film to make manifests the challenges and compromises of both spirit healing and psychiatry. Through talking to patients who have been seemingly treated by both and the use of video for elicitation and connection, we go on a journey to realise the great similarities of both healer and psychiatrist.
The message of the film is of great importance to sensitise a growing expansion of mental health services around the world