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Forest of Bliss1986

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  • 4.5
FOREST OF BLISS is an unsparing yet redemptive account of the inevitable griefs, religious passions and frequent happinesses that punctuate daily life in Benares, India's most holy city. The film unfolds from one sunrise to the next without commentary, subtitles or dialogue. It is an attempt to give the viewer a wholly authentic, though greatly magnified and concentrated, sense of participation in the experiences examined by the film.

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3 members like this review

It is a thoughtfully worked view about the easiness but at the same time ritualized way to see and prepare death, and the associated activities to it. However, it feels to me that ultimately talks more about the Western vision than the actual vision of death from people of Benares. It is sort of the vision of the bored, rich Westerner who needs to exotify and romanticize 'the Other' appropriating it in the camera to make him believe that 'he' is different, maybe more authentic, many more sensitive, that their Westerner pairs. He is not interested in the real Benares, which is probably more Westernized and full of tourists, but in creating an idealization.

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top reviewer

Member Reviews (7)

110767.small
top reviewer

It is a thoughtfully worked view about the easiness but at the same time ritualized way to see and prepare death, and the associated activities to it. However, it feels to me that ultimately talks more about the Western vision than the actual vision of death from people of Benares. It is sort of the vision of the bored, rich Westerner who needs to exotify and romanticize 'the Other' appropriating it in the camera to make him believe that 'he' is different, maybe more authentic, many more sensitive, that their Westerner pairs. He is not interested in the real Benares, which is probably more Westernized and full of tourists, but in creating an idealization.

3 members like this review

This is a classic cinema verité exploration of the realm of the ghats in Benares (Varanasi) India, along the river Ganges, sacred to many. A stylized day in that life becomes a metaphor for life itself.

1 member likes this review
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top reviewer

a prayer

hopefully a bit outdated, well done, no show of the upside of life there

The lack of subtitles and understandable speech made many of the rituals not understandable to the anthropologically naive. The film either had poor lighting on purpose or was poorly done unless the filmmaker was just trying to have generic people shown primarily as silhouettes.

fantastic

I enjoyed this film because of its immersive qualities. The viewer is invited as a visual and auditory observer without the distraction of voice-overs or music. Robert Gardner picks up details of Benares that one might see if they were standing/sitting/ walking in the scene. Good stuff!