Shadows and Illuminations focuses on Nyoman Kereta, a rural Balinese man in his late sixties, who suffers from a psychotic-like illness. The film explores Kereta’s personal history of trauma, loss, and environmental illness. It places his experience in the context of local cultural beliefs and practices, drawing on family members and mental health practitioners’ observations. The film considers how Kereta has adapted to his illness and hallucinations with the love and support of his family.
Shadows and Illuminations explores how non-normative mental events and behavior, including auditory and visual hallucinations, can be understood or interpreted in multiple ways outside the confines of Western psychiatric diagnostics.