The secret of iyas


Alidou, a musician from Benin, wonders about the Gèlèdè rite. He goes to Sagon, a Voodooist village in Benin, to the heart of a society ordered by a woman called Iyalashè. Sharing the daily life of the villagers, he goes from meeting to meeting as he attempts to gain insight into these beliefs maintained by The Iyas. After his initiation he participates in a rare and exceptional ceremony and by the end of his quest comes to realise the guiding and unifying role of the Gèlèdè cult.

Director Biography

After studying in the documentary department at La Femis School in Paris Cyrill Noyalet worked for 10 years with the Nago-Yorouba community in Central Benin. His work is inspired by filmmaker Jean Rouch and his notion of an anthropologie partagée, or shared anthropology.  Noyalet’s crew is made up of French and Benin professional technicians and a Benin theatre troupe. This interaction is a fundamental principal underpinning the film. With the help of this team, Noyalet began making a memorial at a time when modernity threatens to desacralize and folklorize traditional practices.