An epic meditation on the audacious living experiment and untold aftermath of the Rajneesh sannyasin movement in Fremantle, Western Australia.
10 years in the making and a one-man production, The Beloved was described in 2021 by film critic for The Age, Jake Wilson, as “extraordinary…definitely the most remarkable Australian film I saw this year”.
Provocative and eerie, The Beloved is an expansive, expository collage that goes beyond the bad press to contend with the real aftermath of a controversial calling.
The Beloved is a portrait of a group of individual spiritual seekers, all of whom once followed a mysterious calling and surrendered themselves and their way of life to a man and his vision. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or Osho as he is now known, was a controversial spiritual teacher from India who accepted disciples or 'sannyasins' from all over the world during the seventies and eighties.
The Beloved focuses on sannyasins and ex-sannyasins from the port city of Fremantle, Western Australia, where in 1981, the group established a large 'satellite' commune and ashram in the centre of town. The sannyasin living experiment set in motion fundamental changes to existing social structures and identities; new names, new appearance - orange and red clothing only - and a completely new focus: a 'master' and the promise of enlightenment.
In their vision for a higher consciousness revolution, the movement experienced a spectacular and very public rise and fall in the space of only a few years, with the sannyasin headquarters in Oregon U.S.A. and the satellite commune in Fremantle both collapsing.
In the immediate aftermath of these events, many sannyasins found themselves lost outside of the commune - back ‘in the world’ and left to deal with the fallout of having cut family ties, ended marriages, sold off inheritances, and dropped out of the wider community and workforce.
This is an epic meditation on discipleship and the audacious living experiment and untold aftermath of the Rajneesh sannyasins in Fremantle, told by sannyasins and ex-sannyasins in intimate and, at times, harrowing detail. Presented over the changing backdrop of Fremantle - its cyclical events, weather patterns and light - as well as rare or personal archive, THE BELOVED is a contemplative listening experience of different voices and perspectives, and evokes a group’s difficult historical processing.
Selected for MIFF 2021 when all public screenings were cancelled, this is The Beloved’s Victorian premiere.
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