Serpent Mother

Directed by Allen Moore & Akos Ostor, Produced by Robert Gardner
1985, 28 min.

Serpent Mother is about devotion to the Goddess of Snakes and the importance of divine female power in West Bengal Indian life. The film’s focus is the Jhapan festival, the great celebration of snakes. Shown are festival preparations, the role of traditional arts and crafts in the worship of the Goddess, devotional singing, and an exposition of ritual action. The difficult and complex symbolism of the ritual is explained by the participants themselves and this, with the commentary, makes accessible what is, at first glance, exotic and inexplicable behavior.