Sunday, August 17, 2008

Movie Review: Naked in Ashes (2006)

Beautiful footage, empty film

Naked in Ashes is a good dessert, loads of tasty sugar with little nutritional value.

Filmmaker Paula Fouce presents amazing documentary footage of India's yogis, loin-clothed mystics roaming the countryside in search of God and enlightenment. If you ever thought your yoga workout at the suburban studio was tough, try standing for 12 years, or holding your hand above your head for 30. If that's too extreme, you might try walking around naked smeared in ash, sitting meditation with a plate of raging fire on your head, or maybe pulling a car with your genitalia. These guys are dead serious.

Fouce, though, seems anything but, at least for the viewer who is not already a committed Hindu. The yogis talk quite a lot about God, the soul, enlightenment, and ultimate reality, but these statements amount to little more than a collection of non sequiturs. Nothing adds up.

A number of questions are left unasked. Where are the yoginis, the female practitioners? How many of these yogis are imposters? How many become yogis simply because they've become addicted to the marijuana high, or to escape social and familial obligations? How many give up the life after a short time?

Watch this like you might a slideshow, for the beautiful imagery. Don't expect to learn much.

  • Directors: Paula Fouce
  • Studio: Paradise Filmworks International
  • DVD Release Date: November 2006
  • Run Time: 103 minutes



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