© Real Fiction

The United States of Hoodoo
Germany/U.S.A. 2012

Opening 26 Jul 2012

Directed by: Oliver Hardt
Writing credits: Darius James, Oliver Hardt

Where are ‘The United States of Hoodoo?’ A hint for the geographically challenged: They are not on the map. Then what is Hoodoo? According to Wikipedia, “Hoodoo, also known as conjure, is a form of predominantly African-American traditional folk magic that developed from the syncretism of a number of separate cultures and magical traditions…”

If you’re like me and you didn’t know the answer to these two questions, you’ll probably be interested in this documentary by Oliver Hardt (also the director of Black Deutschland). Even if you happen to know what Hoodoo is, you might enjoy watching it, too.

In this film, author Darius James (best known for his books Negrophobia and That’s Blaxploitation!), a former resident of Berlin, returns to the U.S. after his father’s death. Fascinated with his father’s collection of African masks, James wants to learn more about African spiritual influences and practices in the USA. He goes on a journey through what he calls ‘The United States of Hoodoo’, visiting artists, a teacher and a Voodoo practitioner, among others, who answer his questions and share their insights with him. Over the course of the movie, those conversations and James’ observations create a vibrant, colourful, multi-facetted image that not only answers some questions, but also raises new ones.

His journey is at least as much a personal as a physical one. At the end of the film, James and his sister, inspired by a funeral ceremony James witnessed in New Orleans, finally “set their father’s spirit free”. (Christa Greiff)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.