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For Those Who Sail to Heaven
A Film by Elizabeth Wickett
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film stillAt the climax of the annual Opet festival in ancient Luxor, the barques of ancient Theban gods were pulled from Karnak to Luxor and then sailed back on the "waters of inundation." Today, the descendants of Luxor's patron saint, Sheikh Sidi Abu'l Hajjaj, continue this ancient ritual.

In FOR THOSE WHO SAIL TO HEAVEN, the families which pull the sheikh's boat describe the many Sufi rites captured in the film, including "zikr," the whirling to flutes and drums to achieve the ecstatic state called "malbus," and "mirmah," equestrian games which rekindle the spirit of battles fought long ago. In their eyes, these rites constitute an ancient legacy which they are bound to preserve.

Through them, FOR THOSE WHO SAIL TO HEAVEN provides a glimpse of a unique living history.

"Wickett has carefully portrayed the intertwining of ancient and modern so important in Egyptian life but often missing in Western portrayals of Egypt. We have the voices of the local participants as well as the voice of producer Wickett who narrates the film and provides a scholar's analysis. The result is a rich film with many levels of meaning."—Middle East Studies Association Bulletin

1991 Society for Visual Anthropology Film Festival

48 minutes / Color
Release: 1990
Copyright: 1990

For colleges, universities, government agencies, hospitals and corporations

This DVD is sold with a license for institutional use and Public Performance rights.

Subject areas:
Anthropology, Cultural Anthropology, Egypt, Middle East, Sociology

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