Documentary Review “Searching For Hell” 1

Searching For Hell3 Searching For Hell2 Searching For Hell1


First, the Recap:

To intentionally seek out a destination most people would prefer to not even discuss should pose a challenge to almost anyone. From the Biblical standpoint, Hell is the eternal separation from God, a fiery realm where Satan and his rebellious angels were cast for their disobedience, and where the souls who did not make the choice to have salvation through Christ are sent to eternal torment. But, in FilmmakersPond’s  newest documentary effort, “Searching For Hell”, the concept takes on not only the religious approach to its heated subject, but also chooses to show it through the eyes of people who live in, work in, have experienced, even artistically created their own personal “hells”, a sobering portrait to paint in an already tumultuous contemporary world.

Taking five perspectives via five countries and through the eyes of five directors, the idea of “hell on earth” covers a myriad of ideologies and locales across the globe. The desolate landscape of Russia where, in 1970, a group of geophysicists aim to dig the deepest borehole on record, only to experience unexpected problems and supposed eerie sounds from its depths. A town called Hell in the state of Michigan, played at tongue-in-cheek for tourists, yet a resident’s personal story of the hell of war, death, & survival is both harsh, yet filled with bravery. Izu, Japan where a multi-generational family lives and works in a home/museum dedicated to the ancient Buddhist tome Ojoyoshu and the graphic depiction of the horrors its portrayed hell offers to those who do wrong in this life.

Indonesia’s active volcano, Kawah Ijen, where the intrepid sulphur miners risk toxic fumes, burning eyes, seared throats, no visibility, and perilous climbs toting 160lbs of the rock out of the crater, all just to make a living. Or finally to the perpetually war-torn hell of Kinshasa, Congo where children are accused of “witchcraft”, when reality is abuse, abandonment, and estrangement from any love or feeling of being wanted.

Next, my Mind:

For the six primary filmmakers–creator/writer/executive producer Pawel Nazaruk, Tomek (Strzala) Adamski, Darek Barecki, Yuki Nakamura, Gloria Kurnik, Jim Kenney–plus their teams, the entire undertaking to cover this theme in the ways presented had to take a toll, emotionally and spiritually.  This notwithstanding, “Searching For Hell” is truly executed masterfully. With such potent imagery via equally creative and artistic cinematography, there is no conceivable way viewers will not be impacted profoundly. The haunting barrenness of Russia, the “lighter” atmosphere of Hell, Michigan, the gut-wrenching and grim fate of Ojoyoshu Hell’s lost souls, the almost literal Hell-like conditions amidst Kawah Ijen’s poisonous fumes, to the ugly and inhuman plight of Congo’s children.

Each segment leaves one both intrigued and utterly shocked to varying degrees, and it all shines a painfully acute light on the realities of places on this earth we would rather not admit exist, or accept that people actually experience these day after day, by choice mostly, others forced to endure hellish conditions. “Searching For Hell” is a formidable, compelling, persuasive, and solemn look that certainly makes one think harder about the places, or place, regardless of belief and culture, that you do not want to encounter.

Want to know more?  Check out the film’s OFFICIAL WEBSITE

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!



One comment on “Documentary Review “Searching For Hell”

  1. Pingback: Gloria Kurnik | Visual Storyteller | Documentary filmmaker (director, preditor and camerawoman) based in Asia.

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