The Source Family (2013)
It's 1971 and communes and new religions are on the rise. The Source Family are an "Aquarian tribe," a secretive but outlandish group of 140 beautiful young people who stroll Los Angeles in colorful robes, devotees of "Father Yod," a controversial restaurateur-turned-spiritual leader with fourteen wives and his own psychedelic rock band. The Family lives in a mansion and operates a popular restaurant on the Sunset Strip, serving vegetarian cuisine to musicians and movie stars, pioneering a national trend. But their radical lifestyle instigates the authorities. Their demise is dramatic and painful, but Yod's spirit lives on. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Source Family
An entertaining and fascinating documentary about the Southern California cult that 'transformed sex, drugs and rock and roll into a genuine religious formation.'
Thanks to a wealth of actual Family footage...and the availability of willing interviewees, the portrait that is painted is deep, is a little incomplete.
The former disciples interviewed here, now mostly professionals or entrepreneurs in New Agey businesses, seem frank about their leader's excesses, but the wild subject matter cries out for a more objective treatment.
Even bizarre ramblings deserve recognition when, for whatever reason, they united people looking for something no one else was selling.
Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille's evocative documentary The Source Family takes us inside the ultimate California commune, from the early days of bliss to the cult-like twists and ultimate dissolution of the dream.
The research and elucidating synthesis on display effectively illuminate the pernicious aura of a lifestyle pursued by the yearning, lost souls of the time.
Directors Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille take a rewarding, even-handed approach, revisiting an Apollonian flip side to the Dionysian dystopias of Charles Manson or Jim Jones.
There seem to be many missed opportunities for some excitement in a bland film.
Baker's transformation from "spiritual father" to megalomaniac follows a familiar path of brainwashing and hedonism ...
While the movie isn't up to much more than illustrating how far his reach extends (two of the commune members live in Yelm, Thurston County), it's a very agreeable entertainment.
Great stories don't always make for great documentaries, although it's easy to confuse the two.
Maria Demopoulos and Jodi Wille's disturbing film is an object lesson in psychological manipulation.
Baker's cult was both progressive and decadent, and its story makes for a juicy saga-even if directors Maria Demopoulos and Jodi While reduce the collective's rise and fall to a mere talking-heads testimonial.
With some focus and critical perspective, The Source Family might have documented more than a spectacle of its time.
One of the most detailed looks at the inner workings of an American cult ever assembled.
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