In a world teetering on the edge of self destruction, award-winning filmmaker Velcrow Ripper sets out on a unique pilgrimmage. Visiting the 'Ground Zeros' of the planet, he asks if it's ...
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In a world teetering on the edge of self destruction, award-winning filmmaker Velcrow Ripper sets out on a unique pilgrimmage. Visiting the 'Ground Zeros' of the planet, he asks if it's possible to find hope in the darkest moments of human history. Staring directly into the face of war, tragedy and instability, Ripper travels to the minefields of Cambodia; war-torn Afghanistan; the toxic wasteland of Bhopal; post-9/11 New York; Bosnia; Hiroshima, Israel and Palestine. This unflinching documentary captures his five-year odyssey to discover if humanity can transform the 'scared' into the 'sacred'. Confronting horror and heartbreak around the world, Ripper meets those who have suffered first-hand. And in each place, he unearths unforgettable stories of survival, ritual, and recovery. Scared Sacred deftly weaves together haunting and luminous footage with words, memories, and an evocative soundscape to create an exquisite portrait of a search for meaning in times of turmoil. With an ... Written by
I thought this film was great, it got me thinking, and I've encouraged everyone I know to go and see it. However, I wish the filmmaker could have figured out whether he was telling his OWN story, or telling the story of his interview subjects. Either one is fascinating, but the tension/indecision was a bit frustrating while I was viewing the film.
I was most impressed with the VARIETIES of "sacredness" he discovered. There was a nice variation in the interpretations of what could be considered "sacred". I liked how he let the interview subjects speak for themselves. Not too much narration. However, this relative lack of narration did leave the viewer hanging at times. I wanted to know more about the filmmaker's personal experience.
Now I'm going to get all critical. I thought the film was a bit random. I sort of wished that he would have made it clearer when he was changing locations. A more structured approach might have been more effective. I also would have appreciated a bit of more of a synopsis of the "scary event" that happened in each location. Especially in the case of Bosnia, this would have been useful (I know I'm making myself look ignorant here). I found that the whole 9/11 issue got a lot more screen time than other locations. This annoyed me a bit, but I do understand why he did it: it's recent and it affected us all.
At times this film became about "religious responses to suffering" and things got a bit fuzzy. When you start talking about religious traditions it's hard to know where to "meet" your audience. It isn't safe to assume that the audience has knowledge of Buddhist or Hindu responses to suffering. However, it wouldn't be advisable to take up too much screen time with generalizations about religious doctrines.
Then the narrator alluded to his time with the Buddhists in the monasteries and his time with the Sufis. Footage of whirling dervishes seemed to be included for aesthetic value, which was a bit frustrating. Since the film was about responses to suffering and he said that he ended up spending time with Buddhists and Sufis, I was incredibly curious about WHY he spent time with these two groups and WHAT he got out of it! Did facing all this suffering make him more receptive to these traditions? What were their responses to his situation, or to "our" situation? I enjoyed this film. I'm glad it was made. I think the subject matter is relevant and compelling. There are scary things happening in the world and we're all coming to terms with them in our own ways. This film is a record of one man's journey. It was personal, but not too sappy. It didn't try to provide answers or easy happy endings, and that's what won me over.
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