refugees from the West who stayed East
December 27, 2008 12:35 PM   Subscribe

Hippie Masala [masala is the Hindi word for spice mix] is a documentary which poignantly depicts the lives of a handful of old hippies from different countries, who not only remained in India but also remained in the caricature roles of a small few in those days. These are, in some ways, lost souls stuck in the amber of the 1960's and 70's and this movie offers glimpses into their lives now. SnagFilms also has 510 other excellent documentaries to watch for free online.

"In the 1960s and 1970s thousands of hippies journeyed East in the search for enlightenment, free drugs or a ‘pure’ life. Indian peasants assumed that a severe drought in the West was the reason for their migration. India’s holy men saw it, more accurately, as a search for spirituality. Most moved back to their home countries after a few months or years. Some stayed for good. HIPPIE MASALA shows aging flower children who, after fleeing Western civilization, found a new home in India."

About the directors, Ulrich Grossenbacher and Damaris Luthi.

Robert Geesink is one the Western old timers who stayed in India. He's a Dutch painter and quite accomplished. Here is a short clip from Hippie Masala about his work and life.
posted by nickyskye (24 comments total) 43 users marked this as a favorite
Oh, damn, nickyskye, I was being productive today. Now I've got documentaries to watch! :)
posted by HopperFan at 1:50 PM on December 27, 2008

Just a few minutes in, but it looks like a great film. Thanks! A commercial came in around 6 minutes in, but I guess that's OK. I imagine it'll probably be interrupted all the way through.

I do object a little to the terms "caricature" and "stuck in amber". You could just as easily say that we here in the west are "caricatures of consumers" who are "stuck in debt and recession". But then, I haven't watched the whole film yet.
posted by DarkForest at 2:11 PM on December 27, 2008

Overdose. Ha Ha Ha. The change of context between the dope fiends and the Blackberry Bold every six minutes was engrossing.
posted by Xurando at 2:17 PM on December 27, 2008

I dearly miss the hippie era.
posted by RavinDave at 2:20 PM on December 27, 2008

US only. Boo.
posted by jokeefe at 2:24 PM on December 27, 2008

I do object a little to the terms "caricature" and "stuck in amber". You could just as easily say that we here in the west are "caricatures of consumers" who are "stuck in debt and recession".

The word caricature, "a description of a person using exaggeration of some characteristics and oversimplification of others" I think, in this case, does apply. Am interested to know your opinion when you see the flick.

US only. Boo.

Oh dear. Here's Hippie Masala on another site, VodPod, with no ads. Sorry SnagFilms is only accessible to the US, I didn't know that.
posted by nickyskye at 2:32 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

Damn hippeis resized my browser. But I know they didn't mean to. Yeah, it's cool, I love you too. Peace.
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:53 PM on December 27, 2008

I got bored and turned it off, but i think that's because I'm feeling sickly and with no attention span. That said, I've bookmarked it because how awesome is this? Very awesome, that's how awesome.

Rad, in fact.
posted by Stewriffic at 3:18 PM on December 27, 2008

See Dum Maro Dum (wiki) from the film Hare Rama Hare Krishna for a contemporary (1971) Bollywood commentary on the phenomenon.
posted by D.C. at 4:19 PM on December 27, 2008 [2 favorites]

I thought it was a beautiful film. Wonderful photography. These people seem to be living lives of dignity and choice.
posted by DarkForest at 4:33 PM on December 27, 2008

I can't sit in front of my computer for 90 minutes. Everytime I try to fast-forward the film, though, I have to wait another 30 seconds of bubbly advertisements. Ughhh.
posted by kozad at 4:54 PM on December 27, 2008

Ok, the last hour of the film spared me the interruptions. Not a bad film. I have an old friend who lived as a Sadhu for seven years and moved back to the West, where I teamed up with him in some performance art pieces. Now, he is back in India, I hear. Maybe for both senses of the word.
posted by kozad at 5:10 PM on December 27, 2008

Hmmm... doesn't work in the Frozen North. Oh well .
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:42 PM on December 27, 2008

I know, this is turning into such a pain in the ass. Perhaps USWW should be created in addition to WWW, so at least we don't keep running into this bullshit. If you're going to put content on a world accessible network, maybe you should make it, oh I dunno.....accessible to the world?

rant is not directed at nickyskye, btw, but the snagfilms people
posted by Salmonberry at 8:34 PM on December 27, 2008

aww Salmonberry, PareidoliaticBoy and anyone else who couldn't access SnagFilms, if it gives it an iota more fairness, there are British sites Americans cannot access.

Come to think of it, Britain has, I think, much stricter copyright laws than the US and it may be for that reason? I don't know. But I'm so sorry to offer something that is limited to Americans. If I'd known that or SnagFilms stated it, I would have said that in my post.
posted by nickyskye at 9:54 PM on December 27, 2008

Needs more Slayer.
posted by bardic at 10:03 PM on December 27, 2008

I didn't think I would watch the whole film ... but then it became mesmerizing, hypnotizing ... it completely changed my breathing.

These people (all except the twins) were not the 'expats with expats' kind of 'hippies' that I expected; they allowed themselves to be swallowed by India. It was scary and thrilling to imagine all that was behind their words.

Dhanyavad, nickyskye!
posted by Surfurrus at 10:56 PM on December 27, 2008 [1 favorite]

The pace of the movie was slow - intentionally I think to reflect that aspect of their lives in India. Once I slowed myself down to its tempo it was an enjoyable movie.

Weed seemed to play a large part in the lives of the holy men in the movie - I wonder if that's more broadly true - i.e. are many of India's holy men a bunch of dedicated stoners or is this phenomenon related more to the western holy man and his group.

The twins were damned annoying. I liked the looks the Indian woman was shooting their way ("They're not paying me enough to put up with these crazy bitches!" was written all over her face.)

I had the most empathy for the artist - life's loneliness still seemed to plague him though - magnified I'm sure by his cultural separation. He did seem to have achieved some contentment enjoying the affection of his wife and daughters. By comparison, the asshole/farmer's wife was understandably looking for an opportunity to get away from him.
posted by tenmuses at 9:14 AM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

This Snagfilms site sure does have quite a few great documentaries, many European. Among them is a hidden 2002 gem about Charles Chaplin's later years (from 1952 on) featuring Geraldine and some of his other children, several associates and rare 50s-70s footage of the great comic genius. Amazing stuff. Thanks, nickyskye.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 1:32 PM on December 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

tenmuses, thank you for expressing what I'd been thinking but you said it so nicely.

And seekerofsplendor, thanks for the great tip about the chaplain biopic.
posted by nickyskye at 5:16 PM on December 28, 2008

Oh hey Nicky, no worries. Lots of online media aren't available in Canada, it's hardly your fault. and iI don't think think any reasonable person could expect members to test the international availability of content before posting.

Hmmm let's jus' see now ... I know that mefiuser # 52342 lives in Malta, better make sure they can see this before I post it.

posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:07 PM on December 28, 2008

Oh, and as an aside, the COMMERCIALS do play; no problem there.

Fooling the grotty non American user into believing that the content will display, after it eventually loads.

They do say that they expect to be less ethnocentric soon ...

For non-US visitors: Currently, our 3rd-party video platform only permits us to display video in the US. We expect to be able to stream internationally in early 2009.

Hulu and others take note.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:38 PM on December 28, 2008

*er, Chaplin biopic

arg. Must correct typos before pressing Post Comment, must correct typos before pressing Post Comment, must correct typos before pressing Post Comment.

And thanks for that information dear PareidoliaticBoy.
posted by nickyskye at 10:25 PM on December 28, 2008

Anecdote: Today I met a young artist who had read this post, mentioned it to his wife and they both mentioned it to me this afternoon without knowing my online name. It was so funny-odd to say I was the one who posted it here. Small world.
posted by nickyskye at 2:44 PM on December 29, 2008

« Older Pill Art   |   For Those Looking for a Little Boardom This... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments