Darshan: The Embrace | Chicago Reader

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India's first feminist mahatma—Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, or Amma to her devotees—carries her message of unconditional love to Delhi, Calcutta, Rajasthan, and Varanasi in this 2005 documentary. Filmmaker Jan Kounen notes Amma's extensive charitable works only briefly, focusing primarily on the power transmitted by her embrace of strangers; to date she has hugged some 26 million people in the name of peace. Scenes of pageantry and mass prayer show that thousands respond to her charisma, but Kounen gives little insight why; aside from Amma's belief that creator and creation are one, her religious tenets remain a mystery. In English and subtitled French and Malayalam. 92 min.

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