Near Heaven, Near Earth is a film about hippie life in Nepal shot completely at the same level as its participants. A couple of interviews provide insight into the hippie philosophy and we follow a visit to a temple in which the hippies seem like peaceful beings from another planet. The visuals, in black and white and colour, are kaleidoscopic, and reveal a dramatic interest in the camera as a physical object: there is a constant toying with zoom, the camera swings back and forth, and in a series of zany shots from a rickshaw the film provides some very tangible sensory impressions from Kathmandu. Two sequences stand out in terms of form: flickering fast motion communicates what is clearly a filmic acid trip and towards the end of the film six or seven different visual materials are blended into a repetitive, metrical montage. On the soundtrack Bach's St. John Passion is used as film music as are a number of Beatles songs, floating in the atmosphere around the hippies as if from a ...