Published May 05, 2009There is a certain clique of unkempt, middleclass, predominantly white, Kensington Market-inhabiting, organic food preaching faux-artistes that will absolutely flip over this documentary. The problem is that they are also the kind of folks that don't own anything quite as bourgeois as a television, given that possessions, like, hold you down and stuff.
The doc is about "Spiritual Activism": learning to love and freeing the soul through meditation, and by defying the status quo by creating yet another equally judgemental and exclusive status quo. Interviews involve tree-sitters, a spiritual punk musician and many other idealistic, privileged college kids waving their flags and marching for, and against, glib issues they aren't fully informed of. While unintentionally hilarious, it is also infuriating, pretentious and "put my head through a plate glass window" bad.
What's even worse about Fierce Light (which is apparently not a reference to Tyra Banks' "Guide To Owning Your Inner-Fierceness") is that it exploits the death of Brad Will, a documentary filmmaker killed by gunfire in Mexico during a civil protest, to preach a relatively unrelated agenda. This tragic loss is used as a framing device for a documentary about applied affectation.
If this weren't enough, Mister Velcrow Ripper, who talks about his upbringing, religious beliefs and quest for self by becoming a stereotype, narrates the entire thing in a monotone voice with a singular perspective. Even the editing and footage are artificial, as the Civil Rights Movement is reduced to amusing close-ups and sweeping shots of statues at the memorial.
While particularly granola, bandwagon-hopping undergrads may find this documentary uplifting, everyone else should stay far, far away. (E1)