I remember being quite gutted on missing this one's limited release in November of last year, so once again, thank God for the Brixton Ritzy's European matinee's unearthing it for the week. The subject of this documentary is the use of as herbal remedies to cure serious illnesses as outlined by a series of ancient Tibetan manuscripts, These techniques are currently being used by Dr Tenzin Choedrak, personal physician to the Dalai Lama, and are beginning to arouse interest in the West, specifically in Austria, Switzerland and Israel. The area itself is a fascinating one, but the leaden approach adopted by this film ignores all documentary conventions, eschews any sort of structure and drowns the viewer in a barrage of information. The film could have done with setting out its agenda from the offset. As it is the initial scenes of Choedrak treating his patients seem both obscure and overlong. Some sort of voice over would have helped here, but instead any explanation is revealed in great torrents during the brief interview interludes with the various practitioners and researchers within the field. Without any sort of hook into the subject, one is left to derive interest from the periphery details captured on film, such as the decor of the Mongolian living room where one of the patients is treated, or the landscapes of Northern India. By the time we are introduced to the fundamentals of photochemistry by an Austrian researcher I was completely lost. Unfortunately this was about halfway through. One wonders how this ever got a theatrical release in the UK. It is the sort of thing which is done so much better by British television documentaries such as Equinox. This sort of 'point and shoot' style does the subject no justice at all.
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