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Serene doc Shadows of Paradise offers much illumination, little conclusion

It is not cheeky at all to describe Sebastian Lange’s serene documentary on transcendental meditation as a meditation on the subject. Because that’s exactly what it is.

3 out of 4 stars

Title
Shadows of Paradise
Written by
Sebastian Lange
Directed by
Sebastian Lange
Starring
David Lynch, Bobby Roth
Classification
G
Country
USA
Language
English

It is not cheeky at all to describe Sebastian Lange's serene documentary on transcendental meditation as a meditation on the subject. Because that's exactly what it is. The Montreal filmmaker, who grew up in the mantra movement of the 1970s but later abandoned the lifestyle, sought to find meaning in the enlightenment effort following the death in 2008 of the movement leader and Beatles charmer, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Lange fluidly tells his own story while charting the unlikely rise of Blue Velvet director David Lynch as a TM spokesman. Set to a dreamy soundtrack and employing the dulcet-toned narration of Lange, the film is a journey – one that lags toward the end, and one that takes in stops for corporate fundraising with Jerry Seinfeld, a concert by Paul McCartney and a dip in the Ganges. When asking for directions to a guru's cave, Lange found that "everybody had an answer, but nobody knew where it was." An apt metaphor for a film that offers much illumination but little conclusion.

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