The Bird Dancer
41 minutes / All ages / 2010 / United States of America / Average:
Part of the Afflictions Series on culture and mental health in Indonesia, Bird Dancer tells the story of a Balinese woman with Tourette's Sydrome as she struggles for acceptance.
Bird Dancer explores a young woman's struggle with her odd movements and behaviors, and how these are interpreted and understood by her family and community.
The film follows the life of Gusti Ayu Suartini, a young Balinese woman with Tourette's Syndrome, as she struggles to create a life for herself while coping with a society who doesn't understand her disease, doctors with no cures, and a family that rejects her. Inexplicable to her community in rural Bali, Gusti's severe tics elicited grave concern from herself and her family, significantly affecting both the daily and the long-term course of her life.
Gusti has spent many years struggling to overcome the stigma and suffering that has resulted not primarily from her illness, but from the web of cultural significance spun around it in the context of Balinese values and belief, social and familial structure, and health care practices. She will have to use all her strength and courage to find her place in society free from shame and humiliation.