To See, or Not to See?

Mr. Kumare

Documentaries are often tempting, because their subject matter is usually inherently interesting: some unique, strange, or heartwarming story that inspired the filmmakers to begin with. In Kumare, this weekend’s Museum selection, the filmmaker, Vikram Gandhi (at left) conned people into believing he was a spiritual guru and then recorded the results. Presumably, he’s making fun of people’s gullibility and exposing how easily a charlatan can gull naive folk. But then, the Museum desription implies a surprise ending: “the upshot of his story is truly transformative.”

I’m uncertain about recommending Kumare, because I haven’t seen it, and the reviews are ambivalent. And I don’t want to read the reviews too closely, because I don’t want the movie ruined. If you check out Rotten Tomatoes, which (like Metacritic) summarizes critical reaction, the conclusion is “no consensus yet.” It rates about 68% at this point–certainly above average, but not a rave.

I’m intrigued enough to give it a try, though I can’t go tonight and am not sure about Sunday. I want to see what that transformation thing is about, and I’m interested in spirituality and belief. If you see it, or have seen it in another city, I’d love to hear what you think.

Kumare plays at the Cleveland Museum of Art, 7:00 pm Friday and 1:30 pm on Sunday.

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