Video

Ekleipsis

Tran T. Kim-Trang

1998, 22:28 minutes, colour/B&W, English

TAPECODE 054.04

Ekleipsis is an experimental video about a group of Cambodian women in Long Beach, California known as the largest group of hysterically blind people in the world. Hysterical blindness is a psychological condition where one is not able to see despite the absence of physical problems. The tape addresses two histories: one of hysteria, and the other of the Cambodian Civil War. Ekleipsis attempts to elucidate these Cambodian women's conditions and to reveal the women as ascendant personalities who have not only survived the war but have also begun new lives.

Today hysteria remains a mystery of the human mind and how we cope with trauma. We learn of how past eras have dealt with the disease and how cultural, class and gender influences have shaped this disorder throughout the ages. During the reign of the Khmer Rouge many of the Cambodian women who now exhibit hysterical blindness developed their first symptoms, along with suicidal feelings. They were witness to and victims of wartime brutalities including sexual abuse and incredible loss of family, home and person hood. To transcend what has been described as the 'eye-searing' horrors of war, these women cried themselves into blindness.

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