Gnaoua Encounter
a Movie Experience of a Night of the Transcendent Ritual

GNAOUA ENCOUNTER is a documentary short film not only to introduce but to lead you to the core of the Moroccan traditional therapeutic ritual of GNAOUA(or Gnawa), which they believe to cure people by seeking the better relationship with the spirits invisible but exists around us.

Once you look deep into Gnaoua, not only as a performance but as such a spiritual ceremony, you would become aware how the set of music, dance, and religious practices are sophisticatedly designed to induce a “transcendent” state in your mind. On the acoustic side, the music played for the ritual is a repetition of short phrases marked by heavy bass rhythmic melodies from GIMBRI, a three-stringed lute made of wood and camel skin, in combination with high-pitched sound from QUARQABA, a set of large metal castanet, along with call-and-response singing and hand-clapping. On the visual side, performers all put themselves in wardrobes with vivid colors, dance in circular motion, often with lit candles. The main part of the ceremony is structured by performances of 7 songs, with a particular color assigned to each song, white, blue, red, green, light black, dark black, and yellow, where the main dancer wears the cloth in each color. The evening starts with the ritual of sacrifice of a livestock, and the ceremony continues for 8 to 10 hours with a supper break in the middle, where the meat from the sacrifice is served and shared.

This documentary, filmed with angles to optimize these induction, audio-mixed to enhance it, will provide audience the sensation of hypnotic trance invoked by the Gnaoua ceremony in even more effective manner than the experience of actually being there.

Enjoy the extraordinary night of the transcendent ritual in its best form, along with the rare interview footages on prestigious Gnaoua masters guiding you through the ceremony, and feel the significance of this cultural and spiritual inheritance.

40 min.
DELIVERY Summer 2023


Minoru Kurimura
NETPAC winner at Moscow International Film Festival 2010 for FOOD AND THE MAIDEN, which was also officially screened at Berlin International Film Festival 2011. His filmography also incudes ORPHYUS’ LYRE starring Ryoko Hirosue from Foreign Language Oscar winner DEPARTURES.

Producer :
Ricci Inagaki
Beyond The Boundary