A sobering and fascinating time capsule of 70s psychedelia and communal hippiedom, with those who lived through the psychedelia, the songs and the madness – all wrapped up with eye-popping home movies and insightful interviews.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2013
The Source Family were in many ways your typical 70s radical utopian experiment. They had their band, Ya Ho Wa 13, a throng of free-love advocates like Isis Aquarian and Electricity Aquarian, and a miniature harem for their leader. They also had loads of expendable cash, a hip Sunset Strip eatery, a Hollywood mansion, a talent for psychedelic music, and, of course, a charismatic guru named Father Yod, a man with an unhippie-like past and a misogynistic streak. Directors Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos’ access to revelatory archival photos, home movies, audio recordings and interviews with founding members allows them raw intimacy – and an even-handed historical perspective. While it’s easy for audiences to stare slack-jawed at sequences such as Father Yod performing at a high school, and the cult’s slow unravelling, it’s not so easy to shake off how profoundly affected some members remain to this day. — Ant Timpson