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Department of Social Anthropology


CUSAS Social

Film Friday: The Healer and the Psychiatrist (2019) dir. Dr Mike Poltorak

‘On the South Pacific Island group of Vava’u, the traditional healer Emeline Lolohea treats people affected by spirits. One day away by ferry, the only Tongan Psychiatrist Dr Mapa Puloka has established a public psychiatry well known across the region. Though they have never met in person, this film creates a dialogue between them on the nature of mental illness and spiritual affliction. Their commitment and transformative communication offers challenges and opportunities to help address the growing global mental health crisis’


Dr Mike Poltorak’s journey in social anthropology started with long-term ethnographic fieldwork on mental illness and spirit possession in the South Pacific island group of Tonga from 1998-2000. A similar concern with epistemological dialogue led to policy-engaged research on resistance to vaccination in the UK and India. This prompted his wider interest in bringing anthropological insights to issues of public and policy concern.


The running time of this film is 74 mins and there will be a break in the middle. There is also the chance to stay behind after the screening for a discussion. 


Please register for this event:

Friday, 19 February, 2021 - 18:00 to 19:30
Event location: 
Online - please register