1998 / 60 minutes

Directed by
Ricardo Leizaola
Country of production
United Kingdom
Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology Staff Film

Filmed in the city of Caracas, capital of Venezuela, Uncle Poison is an intimate portrait of a traditional faith healer, set against the backdrop of his community’s Easter celebrations. Every day, Benito Reyes receives people at his house looking for all sorts of cures. Through the personal testimony of the healer, this documentary looks at his role as mediator between the social, natural and spiritual worlds. Before curing someone, or even before harvesting medicinal leaves, he must first seek permission from the plant he uses as well as from a variety of Saints. He then uses these plants to extract the sickness and spells from his patients. A conjunction of sacred and profane, celebration and mourning, Easter provides a rare opportunity to look at traditional faith-healing in a wider social and religious context.

South America
Health / Health care / Healing Religion / Belief / Faith Archaeobotany / Ethnobotany