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The Nature of Existence

Submitted by admin on August 6, 2024 – 11:30 amNo Comment

In an attempt to find order in chaos filmmaker Roger Nygard travels around the world asking different people about the The Nature of Existence. Nygard previously made a documentary called Trekkies. It makes me wonder about my own skewed beliefs in religion that I would rather watch people talking about Captain Kirk than God.

While it’s stunning watching Nygard strolling in front of Stonehenge, then walking on the Great Wall of China, then heading down a California street with shops selling medicinal herbs and crystals that can be attributed to a fine sense of editing. What the viewer retains are the ideas Nygard elicits from the people he interviews.

The Nature of Existence swings like a pendulum between religion and science. Indeed, I tended to become glued to the screen when Nygard talks string theory with Stanford physicist Leonard Susskind, only to come unglued during sequences with a university campus soapbox preacher meant to offer comic relief. Among the interviewees are director Irvin Kershner and sci-fi novelist Orson Scott Card. At it most interesting The Nature of Existence gives equal time to Taoism, or takes us to actual locations in India that are sacred in Hinduism. Less interesting are detours through some of the more bizarre practices of Christianity in America (deep South Christian Wresting matches). But in truth The Nature of Existence is the sum of all these experiences.

The Nature of Existence opens exclusively this weekend at the Angelika.

- Michael Bergeron

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