Documentary / Joseph London, dir / Hussain Currimbhoy, executive producer / Australia / 2021 / 260 mins
The Beloved is a portrait of a group of individual spiritual seekers, all of whom once followed a mysterious calling and surrendered themselves and their way of life to a man and a belief in his vision. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh or Osho as he is now known, was a controversial spiritual teacher from India who took disciples or ‘sannyasins’ from all over the world during the seventies and eighties. The Beloved focuses on sannyasins and ex-sannyasins from the port city of Fremantle, Western Australia, where in 1981, the group established a large ‘satellite’ commune and ashram in the center of town. The sannyasin living experiment set in motion fundamental changes to existing social structures and identities; new names, new appearance - orange and red clothing only - and a completely new focus: a ‘master’ and the promise of enlightenment. In their vision for a higher consciousness revolution, the movement experienced a spectacular and public rise and fall in the space of only a few years, with the sannyasin headquarters in Oregon U.S.A. and the satellite commune in Fremantle both collapsing. Many sannyasins found themselves lost ‘in the world’, left to deal with the fallout of having cut family ties, sold off inheritances, and dropped out of the wider community and workforce. This is an epic meditation on the audacious living experiment and untold aftermath of the Rajneesh sannyasins in Fremantle, told by sannyasins and ex-sannyasins in intimate and, at times, harrowing detail. It is a contemplative listening experience of different voices and perspectives, presented over the changing backdrop of Fremantle - its cyclical events, weather pattens and light - as well as rare or personal archive.