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Jesus in India - documentary DVD review
JESUS IN INDIA Not rated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 4 stars
Featuring: Edward T. Martin, Alan Mitchell, Elaine Pagels, Aziz Kashmiri, James Deardorff
Director: Paul Davids   Studio: Indieblitz Releasing
DVD release: 11 August 2009   Runtime: 97 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Aspect ratio 1.66:1, Audio tracks (English), Prof./author Elaine Pagels of Princeton University Dept. of Religion, Author Edward T. Martin on "Cutting Edge" TV show, Panel discussion at Palm Springs Camelot Theater premiere, Film Forecast seminar with producers/director/composer, Dir. Paul Davids on his previous films

Edward T. Martin has managed to create more division among the devout than, perhaps, Jesus Christ himself. Jesus in India, first aired on the Sundance Channel, raising thoughts and eyebrows among skeptics and believers. There have been many well-researched books written on this same subject, including Edward T. Martin's books Jesus in India: King of Wisdom - The Making of the Fim and New Findings on Jesus' Lost Years and King of Travelers: Jesus' Lost Years in India, but this documentary of his travels is unique.

Tracing the story he first heard more than 20 years ago while serving in the Peace Corps, Paul Davids follows Martin on his quest for answers. Davids' documentary set off fireworks around the globe, fireworks that still burn with bright ash that is both colorful and scary. It depends on what side one is on - the pure Biblical side or the questioning side.

For Edward T.Martin, raised in a small Texas town and spending much of his time in the fundamentalist Church of Christ, the ashes are colorful and exciting. After Martin finished college, he headed off to work with the Peace Corps to teach English and to fufill and share his Christian ideals. It was there that he began to hear of the historic Jesus who traveled the Silk Road to India. The story was told in many differenet countries: Afghanistan, Tibet, and India.

The historic tale states that a young Jesus traveled and lived in these various countries, finding solace and guidance among the Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus. Martin believes that these were the lost years not written about in the Bible. Paul Davids' documentary follows him as he searches among the current learned religious leaders of these countries for answers to the fragments of this story.

Martin, intrigued by the Bible's one and only passage that makes any reference to Jesus during the years of his life from ages 12 to 30, travels to Rome, India, and other Eastern destinations, tracking down the historic Jesus story. His odyssey takes many years, ultimately leading to his two books and finally to Davids' fiery documentary of his journey. Martin asks questions that few others dare to utter and only a few are willing to discuss - about Jesus' latter years and his teachings, about why the message is seemingly the same as core Hindu and Buddhist teachings, of secreted scrolls detailing Jesus's stay at one monastary, and about two ancient and revered grave sites - one in Pakistan, the other in India.

The answers are fraught with assurity and ambiguity. While never reaching a firm conclusion, it leaves the answer to Jesus' lost years just out of reach to the viewer, but not out of thought.
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reviewed by Lucinda Tart
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