Feb 20, 2014

David Wants to Fly (DVD)

David Wants to Fly (DVD)
Review by By Askolnick

Eager to make dark films like director David Lynch, the wet-nosed German film maker David Sieveking wanted to "fly" in his idol's footsteps. This desire took him on an amazing trip down the rabbit hole of Transcendental Mediation, where the followers of their late-guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi are working -- and bouncing -- their butts off to build the Heaven on Earth promised them by the "giggling guru" of Beatles fame.

Like Alice's encounters with the ludicrous characters of Wonderland, who recite the ridiculous in ways that oddly seem to make sense, the young film director and star encounters a lot of characters who say and believe as many truly absurd things as they can possibly fit into a day.

It's hard not to laugh watching young, athletic students at Maharishi University of Management compete for awards for hopping the highest and or longest distance across foam mats -- believing that they're actually flying through the air, empowered by enlightenment gained through the practice of TM's more advanced meditation technique called TM-Sidhi (which costs another $5000 to learn above the $2500 for the basic technique that won't get you airborne). It's even funnier watching a TM apologist explain why the aged guru -- who has obtained the highest level of enlightenment needed to hover and fly like a bird -- won't publicly demonstrate "yogic flying." Maharishi is too humble a man to show off his powers, P.T. Barnum explains.

I'm just sorry Mr. Sieveking missed a golden opportunity for another enlightening laugh. Bevan Morris, a real heavy weight in the TM empire, is well, a real heavy weight. He appears many times in Mr. Sieveking's superb documentary. I would have loved to see Mr. Morris decline an invitation to demonstrate the TM-Sidhi meditation technique -- which he and other TM leaders claim is essential for bringing peace and prosperity to all nations. Alas, the only people who demonstrate yogic flying by bouncing on their backsides with legs crossed in a lotus position, are thin, athletic young men. It is doubtful that the bountiful Bevin Morris can even cross his legs in the lotus position, let alone "lift off the ground with effortless thought."

This film is equally a story about a young man's journey from a hero-worshiping follower to a talented and independent film maker, who was not only able to learn from his mistakes, but to grow as well, as he takes us along on an amazing journey. Mr. Sieveking could have easily skewered the mind-bogglingly silly people he interviewed, but he didn't. He treated them gently and let their silliness speak for itself. "David Wants to Fly" is blessed with a lot of self-deprecating humor and humanity and is deserving of all the kudos it is receiving. I just hope the TM movement's law suit threats won't keep this film out of the United States.