Saturday, January 23, 2010

Movie Review: Enlighten Up!

If you are looking for a refreshing break from your average weekend movie, I would like to suggest Enlighten Up! a documentary about yoga. The premises of this film is seemingly basic, a young female documentarian Kate Churchill selects an "average joe" Nick Rosen who has no prior exposure to yoga, and turns him into her guinea pig as she follows Nick from class to class exposing him to different yogic paths. Ultimately her goal is to see if having a daily practice will not only affect his physical body but will aid him on his spiritual journey. From the beginning we know that we are dealing with a genuine subject who has little interest in yoga aside from possibly helping him to sculpt his body. As he goes from class to class in frustration, chanting and trying to fit his gangly body into a pretzel shape it is easy to relate to his journey.
Although this movie has many simplistic elements and a light-hearted charm, I think it inadvertently asks a much deeper question, why do human beings do what we do when we have a daily practice of any kind? Steve and Kate continue their journey to Hawaii and end up in India where Steve is able to meet different gurus and question the origins of yoga. Yoga east versus yoga west, yoga of the mind versus yoga for the physical release, yoga of the heart. I recommend this documentary just for the portion of the film where Steve visits India. The colors, the people, the perspective is worth tapping into. One of the highlights of the film is when Steve is sitting before an Indian guru and he asks a question by stating beforehand, "this may be a stupid question" the guru looks confused and interrupts, "there are no stupid questions only stupid answers." There are moments where this documentary is a real gem and all in all the film is hopeful and really not about yoga at all. Yoga is the conduit for this documentary to happen and through it we are able to watch Steve Rosen, an unemployed journalist from NYC learn about the gift of practice, discipline and finding out exactly what you are not. I recommend it for anybody looking for a short but sweet escape. Enlighten Up! is a refreshing glimpse outside of the daily box.
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