|"Nothing happens until someone says something." ...|
It's masterful film making. There are no special effects or gimmicks. There's no trick photography. There aren't any contrived haloes or mystically significant shots of the sun's rays shining out from behind misty clouds accompanied by choirs of angels - none of that sort of thing. Just no nonsense in your face straight talk documentary film making.
The film also addresses head on the controversy around Werner Erhard's life. It's been said (erroneously, in my opinion) this is the film's raison d'etre. I beg to differ: it's not. The film's raison d'etre, as its title implies, is to highlight Werner's life and his inexorable legacy of transformation. As a sub-theme, the film must inevitably address controversy - which it does, and it pulls no punches in the process. Anyone who makes a difference on Planet Earth, anyone who's ever made a difference on Planet Earth, anyone who ever will make a difference on Planet Earth, is destined to be (almost by definition) controversial. It's to be expected. If you're going to make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs.
I got the idea one day just ... like ... that ... out of the blue to source this film playing to audiences in South Africa. I've had some experience of the listening for Werner's work in South Africa. In 1979, out of a conversation with Werner I went to South Africa, led the first ten guest events in the major cities enrolling the first one thousand people, effectively starting Werner's work there. Now, thirty years later, it seemed like the time had come to go back there again - figuratively, if not literally - and create Werner's transformation in South Africa anew.
Since she granted me an interview I've been touched, moved, and inspired not only by Robyn's work but also by who she is a human being. She truly isn't interested in creating a puff piece about Werner. She won't trade truth for notoriety. She's biased against being biased. She's totally turned off by the idea of creating a song of praise, an ode to Werner. She tells the truth which, at first is hard to watch ... until you realize the truth is very often hard to watch. I called her and asked her whether or not she was open to the idea of premiering Transformation: The Life And Legacy Of Werner Erhard in a theatre in South Africa.
I said to her "Robyn, we can show it in South Africa. Ever since 1979 there's been a big listening for Werner's work there. We can get a theatre. Once the word gets out, we'll fill the place. In fact, my sense is we'll need to schedule multiple screenings because one won't be enough. This isn't going to be hard work either. Once people find out it's showing, they'll come in droves. If you're interested, say so. I can make it happen.".
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