Films: The Sacred Science

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The Sacred Science

The Sacred Science

USA, 2011, 77 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: Peru
Genre/Subjects: Colorado, Documentary, Local, Medical/Health, Religious, Social Issues
Programs: Documentary Films, Spotlight on Colorado
Language: English

DIRECTOR: Nicholas Polizzi
Editor: Brock Bertloff, Daniel Bailey, Margaret Polizzi, Nicholas Polizzi
Cinematographer: Daniel Bailey
Principal Cast: 

For the eight seekers at the heart of this emotionally charged documentary by Nick Polizzi and Dan Bailey, redemption may lie in the mysterious depths of the Amazonian rain forest. Nicola Dale has Parkinson's Disease. Joel Davis suffers from type-II diabetes. Jean Orraca is seriously depressed. John Wood has prostate cancer. They and the others journey to South America in the hope of getting well: traditional medicine men, employing methods that are thousands of years old, will treat them with a combination of local, plant-based remedies and native rituals. “I made a choice to heal naturally,” breast cancer patient Melinda Elliott says. “Maybe I would succeed, and maybe I wouldn't.”

For a month, the afflicted undergo the ministrations of shamans Habin, Don Bechin, and Roman Hanis, who promises “beacons of light that can guide people through levels of transformation.” Even skeptics will likely be impressed by the way that old barriers between the physical and the spiritual seems to melt away here, and by the eloquence of the film's underlying plea to preserve Amazonian healing traditions increasingly under threat by deforestation, modernization, and eco-tourism.

Cinematographers Michelle Zulauf and Alberto Martinez capture the whole process beautifully—quite often in less-than-ideal conditions—and the ambient sense of wonder in The Sacred Science is hard to resist. “We did our homework,” director Polizzi told an interviewer. “But we had no idea what we were really in for.” In the end, it was something like transcendence.

Sponsored by Colorado Creative Industries Division, Colorado Office of Film Television & Media In cooperation with Jade Woman de LaLonde

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