6.5/10
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Darshan: The Embrace (2005)

Darshan - L'étreinte (original title)
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1:58 | Trailer
Malayalam-speaking Mata Amritanandamayi was born near Kochi, Kerala, India and is one of the most well-known saintly persons of this millennium. She makes it a point to greet and hug ... See full summary »

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Mata Amritanandamayi Devi ...
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Storyline

Malayalam-speaking Mata Amritanandamayi was born near Kochi, Kerala, India and is one of the most well-known saintly persons of this millennium. She makes it a point to greet and hug everyone who comes for her Darshan, sometimes hugging as many as 45000 people in a 21 hour period. She also heads a Ashram that feeds the hungry and looks after the homeless, apart from being involved in several housing projects in India, and has displayed a special empathy for both humans and animals alike. She has also traveled to France and North America, and has preached about peace and goodwill especially in these troubled times. She has also traveled extensively in India, especially to Kolkata and Varanasi, where she was greeted with millions of devotees. She cautions everyone that during Ramrajya, Lord Ram had to travel across the seas to fight evil; then during the time of Lord Kishan evil was fought not only on the homeland but also with friends and relatives; and now in the current age evil ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

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Genres:

Documentary

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Release Date:

30 November 2005 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Darshan: The Embrace  »

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Box Office

Budget:

€1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$3,794 (USA) (4 August 2006)

Gross:

$65,326 (USA) (3 November 2006)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Gorgeuosly shot homage to modern day saint looks better then it feels
12 November 2006 | by (SoFla, UsA) – See all my reviews

This visually spectacular but shallow documentation of revered saint Amritananda Mayi, or Amma as she is known to millions in her native India, will probably end up as an important piece of film for her devotees, but really does not cater to those who are not already steeped in her spiritual beliefs. Detailing a brief, rare glimpse into the "hugging saint's" travels across the country, interviews and explanations take a back seat to being in the moment as Amma leads packed temples through prayer. While the strict observational tone works wonders for the atmosphere of the film and does compliment the inherent non-physical tone, the makers of this film sacrifice much with their mere visual representation. People who have not been immersed into the Amma lore, nor have a budding passion for enlightenment will only be able to take in this work as a glorified, alternative concert video of sorts, as we are basically led through a tour of temples the smiling one passes by to pray and hug with the tens of thousands of people who daily seek her unique embrace. These devotees will literally wait twenty hours to simply be hugged by this woman for a few seconds, seemingly receiving an elevated form of love, compassion, and acceptance that cannot be found in everyday life. It is this essence of embracing that is at the heart of the visual powerhouse that is this documentary. While touching and profound, the true hero of this film is undoubtedly Jan Kounen's incredible direction. What could have been a tiny niche film that does not even explore the intellectual ramifications of it's subject becomes instead one of the most visually splendid and immersed exports to come from India that I have ever seen. Making up for some of the repetitious ceremonial footage, Kounen's alternating city footage is both intimate and far reaching, giving viewers the beautifully dirty access to one of the worlds largest populations that has become glazed over in most Bollywood fare. The final result, though nothing of a conversion for the uninitiated, is still an appropriate tribute to one of the worlds most exalted spiritual leaders, and even more importantly a tribute to one of the worlds most exotic countries.


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