New to VOD this week:

Sanjay Rawal

Illuminate 2018

Select Festivals:
Queens World, Ottawa Adventure, Lake Placid

A grueling 3100 mile, 52 day race for spiritual transcendence serves as the entry way to profile several endurance runners.

Sanjay Rawal’s film ostensibly focuses on the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, which takes place over 52 days on the same loop of NYC streets in Queens, and was dreamed up by Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual guru and avid runner who saw running as a means to achieve enlightenment. The theoretical main character is Finnish runner Ashprihanal, the current record holder for the 3100 and a longtime veteran of the race and follower of the now deceased guru, but, likely recognizing just how cinematically tedious it is to watch people run the same square block of sidewalks over nearly two months, the film expands beyond the 3100 to profile other long-distance runners elsewhere: Shaun, a Navajo who sets out to run 100+ miles to recreate the journey his father took when he escaped the Indian boarding house program to which he was subjected; Gyoman, a Japanese monk who has pledged upon promise of death to run 1000 days over 7 years for enlightenment; and Gaolo, a Bushman of the Kalahari who defies Botswana government bans to run as part of traditional hunting practices. While they are thematically tied to the idea of running for some kind of greater purpose, they have no direct ties to the endurance race and their inclusion feels somewhat arbitrary. As with most marathon-focused projects, this fails to sustain interest for non-runners, and outside of the spiritual angle – not easily or successfully captured here – covers very familiar terrain, making this project fall far short of its mark.

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Filed under Documentary, Film, Releases

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