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nabbas

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A soul searching journey that expands over nine centuries, 26 January 2007

The Al-Chemist of Happiness is a documentary about the quest for truth in which by use of unique approach through swift transitions between 12th century and the 21st century producer Ovidio A. Salazar successfully manages to keep the viewers engaged.

The documentary takes us to 12th century Baghdad as one of orient's greatest thinkers, Al- Ghazali, arrives at the Nizamiyya College where he made quite an impression as he began a prestigious teaching career. But, as the documentary suggests, in a few years Ghazali underwent a change, started suspecting every thing he had learnt. He shunned his position, left the school and went on a quest to take a dip into his soul, looking for purpose that could bring inner salvation.

Salazar takes you to a soul searching journey as he travels in the footsteps of Ghazali. Though using natural and simple settings, the film makes creative use of sights, sounds for re-enactment of several interesting episodes of the life and times as they happened in 1111.

At a time when the Iraq-Iran border region is mentioned only in the context of turmoil, this documentary offers a different window in the historical context, in an effective portrayal of those pursuing the truth in the face of the hardships of that time. Should the sweet chimes of birds go unheard because of the coarse cries of the crows? Should feature and documentary productions remain fixated mostly on the rabble rousing and doom saying elements at a time when the voice of compassion deserve to be brought from the background to the forefront? It is all up to the viewers to decide if they tune to the whispers of wisdom. One way to acknowledge our appreciation is to hear the tender beats of the heart and find the pearls of inner richness.

Unless voices of compassion are accorded due attention, recognition and preponderance, complaints about the recurring rants of rage will remain meaningless.