Video Productions by Vibhas Kendzia
The Poetry of Elizabeth Martina Bishop
UNIVERSAL CINEMA REVIEW
Awakening to Spirit / Inner Peace to World Peace
By Hooman Razavi – October 26, 2020
Is it fair to ask how much cinema and moving time-image has the power to induce transcendence and spiritual matters? One can think of Carl Dreyer and his window into Christian spirituality through the medium of cinema. Vibhas Kendzia, a multi-instrumentalist and filmmaker familiar meditative practices and "Native American" traditions, take us through a similar path, giving a short glimpse of the life of Sandra Wasko-Flood, a poet, artists, and labyrinth educator and enthusiast.
Awakening to Spirit is 35 minutes long and takes the form of six intertwined episodes. The subjects narrate her poetry, vision, life journey, and accomplishment. The atmosphere is serene and pensive, and as interestingly, the visuals are mesmerizing and, to some extent, uncannily outwardly. The labyrinth’s power against a maze and its penetration and power in inducing another state of mindset is clearly conveyed. The unfamiliar becomes familiar, the meandering path and center project their meaning for internal and external peace and meaning-making. The audience may not relate much with protagonist lines and themes; they could question the film themes of integration spirituality, poetry, art, and technology on aesthetic grounds. Sandra and Vibhas both offer an alternative explanation in this era of hyper-modernity and AI. Apart from reciting lyrics of The Owl Knows, Unloose the Snake, types of the labyrinth, dance within it, it is clear that this project is to bring together hidden treasures and link it to our modern existence. The fifth episode and the Center in Sedona make this very evident. The film editing and narration support this position and warm the audience to Labyrinth’s power in social and political transformations.
The documentary may demand another interpretation with its direct language of expression on such novel idea. The labyrinth that Sandra advocates and Kendzia showcases are analogous to the medium of cinema and how it can take us through the intricacies of modern life and be a positive source of awareness, inspiration and social change. In a sense, cinema has a labyrinth character to allow self-exploration not only for the artists who give it the lifeline but for the viewers who can internalize and externalize the challenges of the life. The educative nature of cinema, documentary and empowerment of novel ideas are all ingredients, that can be aptly seen in this work.
In sum, one can ask, is this "Awakening Spirit" able to send its message? Is Kendzia able to open up the eyes of viewers on a gem forgotten? Are the genuine voice, poetry, and experience of Sandra Wasko-Flood convincing enough to sway the opinion and viewership of those who may find a link between tradition, art on the one hand, and spiritual void and era of technological domination? "Awakening to Spirit" makes its case that dance in the labyrinth can heal, and watching this documentary can awaken the undernourished souls. In fairness, as surfing in the virtual museums and Facebook pages of this era, especially in the covid-imposed world, it is hard to argue against technology’s integration in our daily lives; the labyrinth may make us realize our ontological and social standing more grounded and profoundly.
ABOUT Hooman Razavi
Hooman Razavi was born and raised in Tehran, Iran. Since 2002, he moved to Canada and completed his studies in Science and Education. Apart from being engaged as teacher for many years, Hooman has been heavily involved in the intellectual community and been member of Agora Philosophical Board for many years. Hooman’s interest in cinema started and grew since attending a film club associated with University of Toronto in 2007. Since then Hooman has been involved in various aspects of film industry including club management, film reviews, essays and festival engagement in Toronto. Hooman appreciates and contemplates on cinema’s multifaceted and evolving nature and how it is intricately interwoven with our contemporary lives as global citizens.