May 1, 2017
by Shahaf Peled
In the summer of 2012, film producer Saskia Vischer accompanied me to a Silent Retreat led by Tyohar in Umbria, Italy. There, between the ancient olive trees and the resort swimming pool, a seed was sown that would in time blossom into a documentary feature film touching the spirit of PachaMama village. Emerging from deep silence the blessed seed began to sprout, filming between 2013 and 2014 in Costa Rica and Ecuador and then post production and completion of the film in Switzerland, Denmark, Poland and Israel, weaving together three years of a cinematic journey into a 90-minute documentary that premiered in Tel Aviv in 2016.
A Different Life is a fragile and intimate piece, particularly by way of its four main characters lending their power, beauty and frailty to the film as their stories unfold, revealing the magic in their lives and the chaos that ignites it. A different life is an existential film about transformation and rebirth, taking an optimistic perspective to existence. Through the stories of the four main characters, some of the pillars that support the community are cinematically portrayed. These are the elements of Silence – meditation and awareness, Emotional Healing, Red Road tradition (Native spiritual practices), and Community in the day-to-day duties of work and family, reflecting the everyday struggles shared by all of humanity.
Each character upholds a pillar and provides insight into its essence, through his or her work in the world and presence in the film. The film reveals their core beauty through a poetic approach to film-making, allowing each character to touch the audience with the potential to inspire magic and transformation. The power to evoke change by way of inspiration and beauty is art’s greatest gift to us. The quality of silence and meditation is weaved into the story through the character of Tyohar and his work in PachaMama, sharing about truth and pointing the way to remembrance of our true essence. During Silent Retreats, the residents and visitors of PachaMama in silence assemble twice a day and he reflects to them their true nature as it reveals itself within the letters they address to him. The cinematic choice to not represent Tyohar visually but to allow his voice and his words to speak directly to the audience allows the audience to become personally addressed by Tyohar, turning the cinematic experience into a Satsang- a meeting with truth, where the viewer can ask himself the questions the heroes are dealing with. The narration, recorded live in several Silent Retreats, also allows Tyohar to offer the viewers a glimpse into PachaMama from its founder’s perspective, giving further depth to the portrayal of this unique place. The three women leading the film’s story, Irama, Chandani and Kate, are the light beings that flicker in the dark inner world of the artist. They are the definition of strength and beauty, walking their journey tall and leaving a trail of stardust behind them. This trail of stardust is an inspiration for the audience and is my inspiration for making the art of cinema. www.adifferentlifefilm.com