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Documentary Feature Competition
D: Vikram Gandhi; with Purva Bedi, Kristen Calgaro

I wasn't surprised to learn that Kumaré producer Stephen Feder worked on Brüno. The comparisons to Sacha Baron Cohen's oeuvre are clear – a fake character tries his best to make rubes of foolish Americans. In this case, filmmaker Gandhi grows out his hair and beard, puts on a robe and fake Indian accent (this Ghandi is from New Jersey), and starts an ashram in Arizona. His underlying message to followers: I am a fake. But no one listens too closely. Instead they believe the guru Kumaré has changed their lives. The documentary is compelling and ever-timely, but it does sag a bit in the middle from repetitiveness and Kumaré's unmasking doesn't come until very late in the film. Where Gandhi diverges from the Baron Cohen model is in the latter's essential meanness: Gandhi would have us believe that becoming a guru changed him as much as it did his disciples.

Friday, March 18, 11am, Alamo Lamar

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