An intimate exploration into the life of offbeat spiritual teacher, Anthony Jan Thomas Penera, who claims he was
sent by God to bring light to the world.
Written By: Francesca Stonum
Directed By: Mark Schwab,
"The Ambassador Of God" follows spiritualist Anthony Penara (Brother Anthony) over several years, so we, as viewers get to see more than just the normal, public face of this Docs subject. We get to see a human being, the ups and downs, anger, the beauty and frustration of being a person on this fine planet we call home. The film's directors, Mark Schwab and Francesca Stonum have went to great lengths trying to keep an objective narrative flowing, with some good results. You may think this is a story involving spiritualism, but in reality it's a film about a man, with his beliefs becoming the supporting cast. The contrasting opinions and actions presented in this film you may agree with, disagree with, or be completely conflicted about. That's what makes this a good movie. It just may make you wonder. The personality of Anthony himself will draw you in on numerous levels. Again, you'll agree, like, dislike and at times feel the greatest respect, and then anger towards the man himself. That's why this is a Doc will keep you watching. Because when it's all said and done you realize that this man, for all his strengths, weakness and everything in between... is the perfect example of what it is to be human. The good, the bad and the ugly. This isn't a schmooze-fest type of film; it's a very intimate and realistic one. It also happens to be, for the most part, damn entertaining.
Technically, "The Ambassador Of God" is just what you'd expect from a documentary. Clips, interview clips and more clips. Decent audio so you can listen if you don't want to watch, (or multi-task) and an editing style that again, you've come to expect from this type of film. As a production, this is pretty much what you're expecting from a Doc.
The wrap up of "The Ambassador Of God" really touched a nerve for me, the origin of the film title, the last 10 minutes or so really put everything in it's place and solidified what I had already thought, and wrote above. This is a film about life. The good, the bad and simply... being. I'd be lying if I said this was the best doc I'd seen, or even in the top five. But before you judge keep in mind I've probably watched over 100 of them, and I can tell you this one is good enough to get me thinking about life in general. I wish (and will try) to learn more about Brother Anthony, and this is directly because of this film. In the process I will probably think more of how I, myself am perceived by people once they factor in the good and bad of my own life. This is a movie I would recommend to others and when it's all said and done... that's what it's all about. Brother Anthony himself appears complex, hurt, hopeful and essentially human. We could all learn something from him and people like him... but at the same time... the point I think is that we could and should all learn from each other, I personally think that's what he would have wanted.
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