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Holy Ghost People

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Director: Peter Adair
1967 / 53min / 16mm

Journeying to Scrabble Creek, West Virginia, filmmaker Adair trained his camera on the church services of the local Pentecostal community, and came away with a record of spiritual fervor of a sort completely alien to most Americans, including incidents of snake handling, speaking in tongues, and faith healing. Adair’s narration helps to orient the viewer, while his images—including several interviews with congregants—refrain from passing judgment, seeking instead to convey something of the rhapsody of the marathon services. A towering work of American ethnography, both eerie and ecstatic.

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July at Metrograph