ILE AIYE (THE HOUSE OF LIFE) (DVD) Image

This 1989 documentary has just been released in DVD format, which should excite fans of world music and David Byrne. People looking for a captivating and insightful look at Candomble, the African spirit cult in the Bahia region of Brazil, should look elsewhere, though. This short film seems like it was made more for elementary school children (some animal butchering aside) than for people who want to seriously learn about this subject.

All the basics are touched upon in this documentary, but nothing more. You learn a little about how it began, the foods the people eat, and how they go into trances when the gods visit them. From this, you get the sense that it is a vibrant culture with some fascinating beliefs, but the only aspect of it that is thoroughly delved into is the music.

Since David Byrne directed this, it is to be expected that music takes center stage, which is fine. Unfortunately, that seems to be the documentary’s main focus, and while you learn a bit from the songs, the knowledge just leaves one wanting to know more.

The DVD also includes the standard extras, which adds a bit to the experience. The documentary needs to stand on its own, though, and
That’s where it fails, leaving viewers bored and frustrated by a missed opportunity to learn more about a people few seem to know much about.

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