For Those Who Sail to Heaven



Directed by: Elizabeth Wickett

(48 mins) At the climax of the annual Opet festival in ancient Luxor, the barques of ancient Theban gods were pulled from Karnak to Luxor and then sailed back on the "waters of inundation." Today, the descendants of Luxor's patron saint, Sheikh Sidi Abu'l Hajjaj, continue this ancient ritual. In this movie, the families which pull the sheikh's boat describe the many Sufi rites captured in the film, including "zikr," the whirling to flutes and drums to achieve the ecstatic state called "malbus," and "mirmah," equestrian games which rekindle the spirit of battles fought long ago. In their eyes, these rites constitute an ancient legacy which they are bound to preserve.