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VIFF Presents Two South Asian Films As It Winds Down The 2018 Festival

The Vancouver International Film Festival will present two South Asian films this week as it winds down it’s 2018 edition of the annual festival.

The films are: Iyengar: The Man, Yoga, and the Student’s Journey; and O Horizon, a film about Rabindranath Tagore, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913?

The Iyengar doc is a World Premiere, on October 9 and 11, and the director, Jake Clennell will be a Festival Guest. O Horizon is a Canadian Premiere on October 8 and 10.

Iyengar: The Man, Yoga, and the Student’s Journey (USA)

For many a yoga devotee, the name BKS Iyengar is synonymous with mastery of the art. Born in southern India in 1918, Iyengar dedicated his life to yogic practice and is often credited with popularizing yoga in the world at large. In Jake Clennell’s illuminating documentary, centred on the Guruji’s legacy and teachings, we meet the legend himself, along with his family members and a host of his reverent disciples. What shines through between rigorous asanas and interviews with students and teachers alike is the mental discipline and spiritual focus that lie at the core of the Iyengar approach.

Focused primarily on the master teacher’s later life and impact in India before his death in 2014, Clennell’s film captures intimate moments of discussion with Iyengar, his granddaughter Abhijata—a yoga teacher herself—and some of the people who have incorporated Iyengar’s principles into their own rehabilitation therapies. From programs for recovering addicts to playful movement classes for orphaned street children, Iyengar’s influence has spread far and wide, and touched many who have encountered it. For anyone who has experienced the joyful potential of yoga, or even struggled to get into a forward fold, this heartfelt film is bound to strike a chord.

O Horizon (UK/India)

Rabindranath Tagore won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 but his continuing influence in the world is especially as a polymath and educator. The “O horizon” is the “forest floor,” our earth’s surface level of organic matter that becomes the topsoil that sustains life on this planet, an apt metaphor for the spirit of open educational environments of great vitality. O Horizon is a marvellous new experimental documentary that celebrates this life-affirming tradition, a practice which embraces music as much as soil science, tree planting as much as mural painting, free-form philosophizing as much as finely honed craft, and dance. It was commissioned by bauhaus imaginista and filmed by Turner Prize nominees The Otolith Group at prominent Tagorean schools in West Bengal, India.

“In this sumptuous offering we are reminded of the world’s extraordinary beauty, and that our own lives, through dance, music, visual art, thought, and action, reveal the forms and rhythms of this beauty. The ravishing cinematography seeks out moments of unexpected luminosity, and movement and song express, with a sense of tenderness and longing, the mutability and fragility of life. This is a film for our moment, a visual and aural meditation on the potential for environmental and spiritual renewal, and a gentle call to action.”—Colin Browne

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