DER Documentary

The Lover and The Beloved: A Journey into Tantra

The Lover and The Beloved: A Journey into Tantra launch preview watch a preview

by Andy Lawrence
color, 70 min, 2011
In Hindi and English with English subtitles

Non-profit, K-12, and Individual pricing also available
See pricing information and conditions

A documentary feature film about one man's journey across northern India and his search for enlightenment. Rajive McMullen, a history teacher suffering from a debilitating illness, makes the painful journey into the heart of Tantra, searching for meaning in holy shrines, coming close to death in cremation grounds and enjoying the chaos of the Aghori seekers.

This film offers dramatic insight into Tantrik ideas about the life cycle, particularly death, and contributes much to our understanding of how we seek knowledge and how we die. The Lover and The Beloved also represents a realistic attempt to understand both the practice and illusive theory behind Indian Tantrism, and is intended to challenge widespread Western misinterpretations of this system of thought. Along the way we visit Kamakhya Devi in Assam and Tarapith in West Bengal, two of the most important centres of Tantrik Hinduism.

“...The Lover and the Beloved captures the atmosphere of this kind of milieu extremely well and I found it genuinely compelling viewing.” — Jonathan Parry, LSE (author of Death in Banaras)
“...dazzled, moved, shaken, engaged... the evocation of a certain and wonderfully wierd India is perfect.” — Lee Siegal, (Pulitzer Prize nominee and author of Net of Magic: Wonders and Deceptions in India)

Related Resources
Filmmaker's Website: All Rites Reversed

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Official Selection, European Association of Social Anthropologists, France, 2012
Association of Asian Studies Film Expo, USA, 2014
XVI Sardinia International Ethnographic Film Festival, Italy, 2012
9th International Film Festival - The Heart of Slavonia, Croatia, 2012
Ethnocineca, Vienna, Austria, 2012
Association of Social Anthropologists, New Delhi, India, 2012
Worldfilm 2012 - Tartu Festival of Visual Culture, Tartu, Estonia, 2012
International Ethnographic Film Festival of Quebec, Canada, 2012
15th Mostra International do Filme Etnografico, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, 2011
AAA Film and Interactive Media Festival, Montreal, Canada, 2011
31st NAFA Film Festival, Scotland, 2011
Akasha Metaphysical Film Festival, California, USA, 2011
Audience Prize, 12th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film, London, UK, 2011
10th International SIEF Congress, Portugal, 2011
5th Anthropology Film Festival, Canada, 2011
Days of Ethnographic Film, Slovenia, 2011

View more photos on

Related Films
The One and the Many
Forest of Bliss
The Last Rites of the Honourable Mr. Rai

Catalog of New Films DER new films catalog cover
Join Our Mailing List
Suport DER
Supported By Massachusetts Cultural Council National Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment for the Arts