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DVD Review: Fierce Light

September 10, 2009

Fierce Light: When Spirit Meets Action
Fiercelight Films/ Seville Pictures

I believe the director, Velcrow Ripper, had this quote from Gandhi in mind when he started this project, “I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before any one even at the cost of your life.”

Velcrow, after the loss of his dear friend Brad Will could have easily changed course, allowed his anger and frustration to wash over him. Instead he let the unfortunate moment inspire him and this film. The cast of characters/ spiritual revolutionaries is large, including Thich Nhat Hanh, Noah Levine, Daryl Hannah, Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Van Jones and tons more.

From the beginning of the film we are introduced to a farming community, in the middle of South Central L.A. Interwoven through the film is the constant struggle the farm has with the owners and developers. The community of citizens created a phenomenal organic farm, that not only sustains them now, but is used as a building block for their childrens future.

The interviews with each character all have the same theme, change. Before the term “change” was officially coined as a slogan for Obama, visionaries had been living it. Whether it be Julia Butterfly Hill who lived in a redwood tree named Luna for 738 days in order to protect it from being cut down, to the monk/ non-violent activist Thich Nhat Hanh and his return to Vietnam where he was ousted decades before to Noah Levine who overcame the power of addiction and violence and turned that power into an inspiring movement “Dharma Punx”.

The end result, for the most part, has always been successful. Luna was not cut down and until recently, Thich Nhat Hahn and his followers were allowed to worship freely in Vietnam and Noah is impacting lives of people “society” never thought could be reached (myself included).

The visuals are stunning and the narrative is not only informative but inspiring to say the least. Fierce Light is provocative and well worth viewing if you feel the need to be inspired. The range of emotions you will feel while viewing this are almost roller coaster like. From happiness and celebration one moment, to sadness and despair at the way certain people have struggled in the film.

Velcrow Ripper has captured not only the heart and soul of various social movements in film, but shows us the things we can, and should do, to engage the world in a way that exhibits positive change.

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