Film screening of “Breaking the Chains” | Center for Southeast Asian Studies Kyoto University


Film screening of “Breaking the Chains”

Date & Time: February 21 (Wed), 2024. 15:00~17:30 (JST)
Venue: Former Kyoto Prize Library Room, 1st Floor, Inamori Memorial Bldg, CSEAS, Kyoto University
Format: In person only

Register: Please register below:
*We will have dinner with Prof. Colucci and Dr. Ito after the screening. If you would like to join the dinner as well, please register before February 14 (Wed).

15:00-15:05  Opening remarks
15:05-15:15  Introduction by the movie director, Prof. Erminia Colucci
15:15-16:20  Film screening of “Breaking the Chains”
16:20-16:35  Discussion by Dr. Kasumi Ito
16:35-16:45  Response by Prof. Erminia Colucci
16:45-17:30  Q&A

Language during the event: English

About the film:
Released in 2015
Duration: 63’ 47’’
Audio: Mostly in Indonesian and Sundanese with English, Italian, and Arabic
Subtitle: English, Japanese

The practice of using shackles and chains to physically restrain people with mental illness (known as pasung) is widespread in Indonesia (as in many other developing/low middle income countries) and almost universally ignored. This observational ethnographic documentary explores the beliefs and social norms regarding pasung and tells an original story about the social and political activism to free people from this practice and the process that leads to the release of victims of pasung such as Yayah, a young woman who has been chained inside a small room for 17 years. In particular, the film follows the activities that have been initiated by an organization in Cianjur (West Java) that is led and run by people with mental health problems.
“Breaking the Chains” researches an important topic (faith-based practices for mental suffering) that is under-researched in medical anthropology and is a rare example of applied visual ethnography in the field.
This film is part of the photo/film-documentary series “Breaking the chains: Human rights violations against people with mental illness.” For more info, please visit

Film trailer:

Presenter/ movie director:
Erminia Colucci
CSEAS fellow at Kyoto University (Japan)
Professor of Visual Psychology and Cultural & Global Mental Health in the Department of Psychology at Middlesex University London (UK) 
Visiting Professor at Gadjah Mada University (Indonesia)

About the presenter/ movie director:
Erminia Colucci has a background in Cultural Psychiatry (PhD), Visual Anthropology (MPhil), Education (PGCert), Data Analysis (PGDip) and Cultural and Community Psychology (BSc and Hons). Her main area of research are human rights and mental health, suicide and suicide prevention, domestic violence against women and children, spirituality and faith-based/traditional healing, and first-hand stories of people with lived-experience of ‘mental illness’ and suicidal behaviour, with a focus on low-middle income countries and ethnic minorities and refugee populations. Erminia is passionate about using arts-based and visual methodologies, particularly photography and ethnographic film-documentary and participatory visual methods, in her research, teaching and advocacy activities. Erminia is the founder of Movie-ment, Aperture – the first Asia-Pacific ethnographic documentary festival – and Co-chair of the World Association of Cultural Psychiatry SIG on Arts, Mental Health and Human Rights.
For more info, please visit and

Kasumi Ito 
Eminent Associate Professor of the Institute of Ars Vivendi at Ritsumeikan University (Japan)

About the discussant:
Kasumi Ito’s research focuses on global social movements of users and survivors of psychiatry and people with psychosocial disabilities. She has interviewed the activists and described the histories of movements. She has also been involved in the movements as an ally. Her main work is Seishin-shogaisha no Gurobaru na Kusa-no-ne Undo: Rentai no Naka no Tayo-sei [Global Grassroots Movements of People with Psychosocial Disabilities: Diversity in Solidarity] (2021, Seikatsu shoin).

Co-organizer: Event Planning Committee & Visual Documentary Project (VDP)