One Track Heart: The Story of Krishna Das
One Track Heart should work a lot better than it actually does. On paper it’s a gripping story with a lot of potential for drama, spiritual reflection, redemption, catharsis, and good music. In execution, it’s a wishy-washy look at someone with a darker story to tell told by a filmmaker who seems deathly afraid of insulting or offending his subject.
Jeff Kagel could have been the lead singer of Blue Oyster Cult in the 1970s, but he was so heavily into halucingenics and the teaching of former Timothy Leary co-hort Ram Dass that he headed for Indian in search of enlightenment. While there, he spends most of his time with Mahara-ji Neem Karoli Baba, who guides Jeff towards a spiritual rebirth as Krishna Das. Playing the harmonium and engaging in chanting known as Kirtan, Das had a new purpose in life. It only lasts, however, until he leaves India and Mahara-ji passes away, when he gets heavily into drugs again and stops singing.
Director Jeremy Frindel catches up with Krishna in happier times: touring, cutting an album with Rick Rubin, visiting Jason Becker, and it’s all quite heartwarming to see. But so smothering is the film’s positivity that even Krishna seems to only be paying lip service to his own troubles, like they’re afterthoughts that can now be tackled in single sentence soundbites. Instead of trying to show the audience the true nature of redemption – or even the healing power of spirituality and the music that saved Krishna’s life – it’s aimed squarely and only at the already converted with precious little interest for anyone else looking for more than a bullet point presentation. More time is devoted here to Krishna cutely telling his bandmates they can’t poop on the tour bus than there is to talking about how he stopped taking drugs. That’s a problem.
One Track Heart will screen as part of the Sunday Salons series with special guest speaker Jason Anderson (The Grid, Cinema Scope) on Sunday, October 27th at 4:00pm, where guests will get a complementary glass of wine and a post movie discussion.
Also at the Bloor this week (and the rest of October):
One Track Heart and a held over Design is One (which will have its own Sunday Salons screening on Sunday, October 20th with The Globe and Mail‘s Liam Lacey in attendance) from last week are the only new releases showing at The Bloor through the rest of the month, but there’s certainly no shortage of other stuff going on.
There’s a plethora of returning favourites sandwiched between the new releases:
Dirty Wars (Friday, October 18th, 8:45pm, Sunday, October 20th, 12:00pm)
Blackfish (Sunday, October 20th, 9:15pm, Wednesday, October 23rd, 6:15pm)
Good Ol’ Freda (Tuesday, October 22nd, 9:00pm, Saturday, October 26th, 1:45pm, Tuesday, October 29th, 8:30pm)
The Act of Killing (Saturday, October 26th, 4:00pm, Sunday, October 27th, 9:00pm)
The Venice Syndrome (Sunday, October 27th, 2:00pm, Tuesday, October 29th, 6:15pm)
On Tuesday, October 22nd at 6:00pm, Henk Pretorious’ Fanie Fourie’s Lobola, a South African comedy about a mixed race couple trying to figure out how dowry works before getting married, screens as a fundraiser for LALELA, a group dedicated to providing arts education in extremely impoverished areas around the world. Tickets are $17 for general admission, or $100 for a the screening and a VIP cocktail reception.
The documentary Lost Years will screen on Thursday, October 24th at 6:30pm. The film chronicles several generations of Chinese-Canadians from around the world. Admission is by donation.
TVO personalities The Water Brothers will host the Kick-off to the Beyond Green Youth Summit on Friday, October 25th at 7:00pm. Tickets are $35 and include access to the entire weekend long summit. More information can be found here.
Dal Puri Diaspora made quite an impression when it debuted at Reel Asian last year, and this year director Richard Fung will get his own retrospective at the festival. His most recent film, a documentary about Indian street food and its impact on culture, will screen at on Saturday, October 26th at 7:00pm.
Finally, The Bloor will be getting into the Halloween spirit with a pair of spooky documentaries – Doc Ignite recipient 30 Ghosts (Saturday, October 26th, 9:15pm, Wednesday, October 30th, 8:30pm) and Birth of the Living Dead (Sunday, October 27th, 7:15pm, Monday, October 28th, 9:30pm). The Rocky Horror Picture Show Shadowcast also returns to The Bloor for a whopping four performances (Friday, October 23rd at 11:30pm, Saturday, October 24th at 11:30pm, and Thursday, October 31st at 7:00pm at 10:00pm). We’ll have more on these events and films early next week when we run down some of the best and spookiest goings on in Toronto this Halloween.