Like most parents, Rupert and Kristin Isaacson would like to change their 4-year-old son’s behavior. Unlike most parents, the Isaacsons attempt this cure by taking young Rowan on horseback through the nomad camps of the Mongolian interior in search of the reindeer people. Rupert, who produced the film, is a journalist who’s witnessed successful shamanic healings; he and director Michel Orion Scott detail the lengths the family will go—on stubborn, only recently domesticated horses—to find the powerful shamans they hope will cure the boy’s tantrums, incontinence, and autism. Through interviews with anthropologists and autism experts and unflinching footage of Rowan’s hectic healings, the filmmakers undermine not just Western medicine but also the conventional view that autism is a disability instead of a blessing.
On Wednesday, June 17, at 9:30 p.m.; also on Friday, June 19, at 1 p.m. at AFI Silver Theatre.
Correction: This article originally stated that Rupert Isaacson co-directed the film and misspelled the first name of Michel Orion Scott.