Film Club: ‘The Dispossessed’

Film Club: ‘The Dispossessed’

What responsibility do we have to help those around us?

The Dispossessed” is a seven-minute film that touches on themes of healing, faith and helping others. It profiles Mohammed Shafi Hazari, a traditional faith healer in Kashmir, who exorcises patients who believe they’ve been possessed. But amid the backdrop of violent conflict, he more often lends his services to treat another malady that plagues his neighbors: depression.


1. Watch the short film above. While you watch, you might take notes using our Film Club Double-Entry Journal (PDF) to help you remember specific moments.

2. After watching, think about these questions:

• What moments in this film stood out for you? Why?

• Were there any surprises? Anything that challenged what you know — or thought you knew?

• What messages, emotions or ideas will you take away from this film? Why?

• What other questions do you have?

3. An additional challenge: What connections can you make between this film and your own life or experience? Why? Does this film remind you of anything else you’ve read or seen? If so, how and why?

4. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)

5. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.

6. To learn more, read “The Dispossessed.” Musa Syeed writes:

As I filmed Mr. Hazari, I initially wanted to know after each treatment: exorcism or placebo? I wanted him to confirm something spectacular was happening. But as I watched patients eager to feel the healing in his breath, his hand, his dull knife, I bit my tongue. Here was a man who amid conflict and violence invites strangers to sit with him, to listen to their problems, to offer some hope that, together, they might solve them. And what do you call that, other than a miracle?



• See all the films in this series.

• Read our list of practical teaching ideas, along with responses from students and teachers, for how you can use these documentaries in the classroom.

• Our next Film Club will take place on Thursday, Feb. 14.