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Tuesday, May 05, 2015

Sean Kelly

Hot Docs 2015: Possessed by Djinn

Possessed_by_Djinn

The murder of a young girl leads to an examination of the Islamic belief in djinn in Possessed by Djinn.  A four-year-old Jordanian girl named Aya is brutally killed by her father, who believed that she was possessed.  Spurred on by this event, filmmaker Dalia Al Kury launches into an investigation of djinn, which many Islamic people believe in, but don’t like to talk about it.  Additionally, this belief is compared to the “demons of dictatorship,” which need to be exorcised from Jordon.

Djinn are supernatural creatures in Islamic culture, which are essentially a parallel to demons in Christianity.  Those who believe that their loved ones are possessed by djinn, will often end up visiting healers called Sheikhs for assistance.  Possessed by Djinn examines these beliefs in relation to the murder of the young girl Aya.  Aya’s family refuses to press charges against her father and believes that this is all just a “test by Allah.”  The belief in djinn are contrasted with protests against the corrupt government of Jordon, which the film suggests are the “real demons” of this society.

It can be said that Possessed by Djinn ultimately takes a very atheist approach, in examining how the Islamic belief in djinn essentially lets a man off the hook for brutally murdering his daughter.  However, this viewpoint is contradicted a bit in the narration, where Dalia Al Kury describes strange events happening to her, such as waking up in the middle of the night at exactly 4am.  What is obvious from this film is that Jordon has a very corrupt and patriarchal society, which believes that Aya’s family “needs their father,” even though he was a domestic abuser and killed his youngest daughter. It’s something to think about.

★ ★ ★ 1/2 | FAIR 

Sean Kelly

About Sean Kelly -

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described ├╝ber-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).