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The Nature of Existence (2010)

 -  Documentary  -  April 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.7/10 from 441 users   Metascore: 41/100
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Filmmaker Roger Nygard roams the globe to the source of each of the world's philosophies, religions, and belief systems. He interviews spiritual leaders, scholars, scientists, artists, ... See full summary »


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Credited cast:
A-Ha ...
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Rob Adonis ...
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Butch Anthony ...
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Amiri Baraka ...
Steve Biller ...
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Orson Scott Card


Filmmaker Roger Nygard roams the globe to the source of each of the world's philosophies, religions, and belief systems. He interviews spiritual leaders, scholars, scientists, artists, pizza chefs, and others who have influenced, inspired, or freaked out humanity. Written by Anonymous

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$52,799 (USA) (2 October 2010)

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User Reviews

a crazy variety of answers to the biggest questions of life
22 February 2011 | by (TX) – See all my reviews

Is there some grand, eloquent meaning and purpose to life? Or is it all just about sex and chocolate? This new documentary certainly does not provide any unswerving answers...except for the realization that, no matter how strongly one person may believe in their own solutions to these questions, there is someone else out there who will just as confidently and definitely contradict him.

Director Roger Nygard spent many years traveling the US and "hot spots" around the world interviewing experts and, well, not experts, to see what they had to say about the most unanswerable challenges of human existence. Is there a God? What happens when you die? What is morality? Why does any of it matter? From the little girl who lives next door to a conservative Jewish Rabi in Israel to a Druid priest and many physicists and "God experts", the answers are sometimes funny, sometimes provocative, and sometimes a little scary. And which ones you think fall into which categories will probably depend on what you already think the correct answers are. Especially on the whole "God" question level.

What I really loved about this DVD is that Nygard never tries to wrap things up in a nutshell. Hundreds of hours of interviews are simply edited together so that there is a back-and-forth and a flow to the conversation, tied together with his own quirky narration of how confusing it all is or where he's going to try for answers next.

As a woman in the middle of my own existential crisis, I thought the whole conversation was thrilling. Most of us grow up learning one set of ideals. Usually the ones held by our parents and the community we live in. Some of those teachings can be invasive and touch on every fiber of every decision we make. Others are pretty vague, as Carrie Bradshaw says, "I went to the church of be nice to others and chew with your mouth closed." But to be able to stand aside from what we feel is "right" and "true"--especially the TRUE part--and ponder another perspective, is absolutely vital. A few good solid "what ifs" never hurt anyone. If you find everything you cherish totally upended, well, maybe you were not on such solid footing to begin with.

I'm not promising that this DVD will rock your world, but I hope it will make you think. No matter what side of things you stand on, you are going to hear from those who take exactly the opposite view. Listen to them. Take a minute to hear things from the other side. Open your thought. Open your heart. There's a big world out there and millions of people churn around in it. Taking 90 minutes to hear what some of them have to say about the biggest questions of life may just be some good, rich chocolate for your soul.

According to one of the men interviewed, chocolate is the purpose of life. Sounds like a good first step to me!!

(from my blog "Chocolate Media")

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