Genocide Center at Rutgers University, Newark, Will Host Free Public Film Series, Talks During October

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Gusti Ayu Suartini suffers from her sibling's hostile reactions to her Tourette's syndrome in "Bird Dancer.”

Topics Range from Mental Illness to Sexual Violence

The Rutgers Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights will host a series of films and discussions focusing on two vital issues impacting human rights: mental illness and sexual violence. All of the programs are free and open to the public; all will be held at Rutgers University, Newark.

 The first two programs, on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9, will feature four films by noted director and anthropologist Dr. Robert Lemelson, which are part of his six-part series “Afflictions: Culture and Mental Illness in Indonesia.” 

Lemelson will lead a discussion about his production process and the films’ important findings about the care and treatment of mental illness. 

The third film, on Oct. 11, is the Emmy-nominated United Nations documentary, Cambodia: A Quest for Justice, the moving story of the first case ever heard at the United Nations-backed international tribunal. This event will screen the documentary, followed by panelists who will discuss what the trial means for Cambodia and the prevention of future genocides. 

The series will wrap up with an Oct. 18 screening of Grandma’s Tattoos, the story of thousands of female survivors of the Armenian Genocide who were forced into prostitution and tattooed to distinguish them from the locals.  This film and panel discussion  is part of the programGender and Agency: Narratives of Sexual Violence During Genocide.”

A complete schedule follows.

Monday, Oct. 8, 10 - 11:20 a.m., Dana Room, John Cotton Dana Library, 180 University Ave., Newark campus
“The Bird Dancer,” screening and discussion with the director, Dr. Robert Lemelson. This film tells the story of Gusti Ayu Suartini, a young woman with Tourette’s syndrome from rural Bali. Neither Gusti’s family nor community understands the medical nature of her condition and they pity, spurn or mistreat her.

Tuesday, Oct. 9, 6 - 8:40 p.m., Dana Room, John Cotton Dana Library, 180 University Ave., Newark campus
Shadows and Illuminations, Ritual Burdens and  Kites and Monsters, screenings and discussion with the director,  Dr. Robert Lemelson.

  • Shadows and Illuminations paints a portrait of Nyoman Kereta (left, wearing a ritual mask), a rural Balinese man in his late sixties who, by psychiatric standards, suffers from a psychotic-like illness.
  • Ritual Burdens tells the story of Ni Ketut Kasih, a Balinese women who lapses into mania and depression when the weight of communal ritual obligations and other societal expectations become overwhelming.
  • Kites and Monsters follows the childhood of Wayan Yoga, a five-year-old boy whose imaginative world includes an obsession with violent, mythical monsters and a passion for dance, kite flying and drawing. He is also diagnosed with Tourette’s syndrome and exhibits the physical tics and vocalizations characteristic of his illness.    

Thursday, Oct. 11, 6-8 p.m., location to be announced
Cambodia: The Quest for Justice, film screening and roundtable.  Check  for updates on location

Thursday, Oct. 18, 6-8 p.m., Dana Room, John Cotton Dana Library, 180 University Ave., Newark campus
Gender and Agency: Narratives of Sexual Violence during Genocide,  screening of Grandma’s Tatoos, followed by panel discussion with Khatchig Mouradian, moderator, Clark University; and panelists Sara Brown, Clark University, and Suren Manukyan, Armenian Genocide Museum & Institute, Yerevan, Armenia


Since its founding in 2007, the Center has established itself as a leader in the study of world challenges ranging from the devastation of genocide to the process of conflict resolution and peace-building. Based in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, its internationally renowned group of advisors, faculty associates, and affiliated scholars work on urgent world issues and come from diverse disciplines including anthropology, business, classical and modern languages and literatures, criminal justice, global affairs, education, English, history, law, political science, psychology, sociology, and visual arts.

For more information about these programs contact the Center for the Study of Genocide, Conflict Resolution and Human Rights at Rutgers University, Newark, 973/353-1260/ 5345, or