In this week’s podcast, we review the fascinating documentary, Holy Hell.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Holy Hell chronicles the 22 year journey of former members who were trapped in the bizarre Buddhafield cult. Directed by Will Allen, a former member himself, the film uses archive footage shot by Allen, and interviews, to tell the story of the rise and fall, not only of the cult itself, but that of it’s strangely charismatic leader, Michel Rostand (aka Andreas).
Here’s the trailer:
Just out of college, a young filmmaker joins a loving, secretive, and spiritual community led by a charismatic teacher in 1980s West Hollywood. Twenty years later, the group is shockingly torn apart. Told through over two decades of the filmmaker’s archival materials, this is their story.
WHAT DID WE THINK?
Holy fucking hell! 😉
This is another one of those, “cautionary tales”, about how cult leaders use time-tested techniques to manipulate and coerce vulnerable and impressionable minds, not only to enrich themselves and gain power over others, but to fulfill some deep-seeded, narcissistic need, to be revered as a god. And all at the expense of their blindly devoted.
In many ways, this is a remarkable film, as we’re afforded a true insiders glimpse into the workings of a megalomaniac, and the profound affect it had on his followers. One of the former members, Chris, summed it up best this way:
There’s this social interplay that happens between highly co-dependent people and pathological narcissists. Who’s going to give a person who needs constant adoration and attention – who is going to give that to them ceaselessly? Someone who relies on him as the source for their self-esteem.
Couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
We give it 4.5/5 Stars. Check it out.