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|Festivale online magazine, February, 1998|
Siddhartha movie review
I knew nothing of this film, assuming that it was about the Buddha because the title bore his name. Instead, it's about a separate character called Siddhartha who lives in India at the time of the Buddha's achievement of Enlightenment. He even meets the great man briefly, though he doesn't choose to follow his philosophy.
Siddhartha is a movie about philosophy, pure and simple. Filmed in 1972 at spectacular locations in India, it follows a young man's life and his pursuit of meaning. He moves through different stages: asceticism, love, material wealth, self-loathing, each time gaining a new piece of the puzzle that is life.|
This film, an adaptation of the novel by Herman Hesse, is very stylised and the acting is very "big". Siddhartha, played by Indian movie star Shashi Kapoor, is oh-so-earnest as he deliberates solemnly over the paths of existence. His co-stars all write their characters larger than life and there's something very Seventies about the film... you can imagine the Summer of Love crowd plumbing its mystic deepness for insights. It's a film that shouldn't really work in 1998.
And yet... Siddhartha is a joy to watch. Though slow and stylised, it addresses its great questions with honesty and integrity and provokes thought. The beautiful locations, including the ground of palaces which no Western filmmaker had previously been allowed to use, draw us into its introspective flow as calmly as the great Ganges which is featured so effectively in the film.
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|Just the facts:
Title: Siddhartha (1972)
|The Players: Shashi Kapoor, Simi Garewal, Romesh Sharma, Pincho Kapoor||Official website|
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Published in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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