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 »
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
Darshan is a truly magnificent film, if only for the cinematography itself. It captures the masses, the festival, the obliteration of the individual in an out pouring of religious ecstasy in a way that rivals Riefenstahl's documentation of the pseudo-Catholic mass political rallies of the Nazis. The cinematographer has clearly taken a page out of Riefenstahl's book, showing the religious individual as a tiny speck in a sea of uniformly dressed humanity. The camera sweeps across the crowds, many amazing shots are taken from high above, showing the groups as one pulsating, living organism. Again, similar to Leni's work and in contrast to the long shots of the religious worshipers, the camera only zooms in on Amma's figure, showing many close ups and dwelling on her cherubic face, which often breaks into a smile. The visual language clearly communicates the psychology of this religious group, which is a huge achievement. Many religious documentaries are made without passion, meant somehow to conform with secular society. Darshan's creators passion for the material shines through every movement of the camera, which is oblivious to what outside world may think about huge crowds of uniformed people in religious communion with a saint who hugs people for a living. This film deserves more play.... I saw it on Sundance or IFC, so hopefully this can be seen by more people outside of religious scholars or Darshans followers.
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