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The Independent Critic

Scott Indermaur, Amelia Allard, Bren Bataclan, Sirry Berndsen, Ken Chabert, Amanda de Rezendes, Ana Flores, Rebekah Ham, Edward Martin, Jayne Pawasauskus, Jennifer Reis, Scott Turner, Janine Weisman and Sarah Whitehead
Christian de Rezendes
42 Mins.

 "Revealed: Portraits from Beneath One's Surface" Review 
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We are each one-of-a-kind.

Scott Indermaur, a photojournalist and creator of the "REVEALED" project, seems to realize the awesome uniqueness of every human being and their spiritual journey as captured by documentary filmmaker Christian de Rezendes in REVEALED: Portraits from Beneath One's Surface, a 42-minute short documentary that follows Indermaur as he takes 11 individuals and gives them the challenge of symbolically capturing their essence and spiritual in a small box.

It sounds like a simple thing, really. Doesn't it? It could hardly be an interesting subject for a documentary, even a short one. Right?

Think again.

REVEALED: Portraits from Beneath One's Surface is a profoundly moving and intimately revealing documentary that does, indeed, go beneath the surface of the people who whose spiritual journeys are being so vividly documented. Rather than fill the screen with tangible facts and dramatic stories, de Rezendes instead allows each individual's journey to tell the story. Glimpses of life history are provided, but the REVEALED project isn't so much about the tangibles of our lives as it is about how those tangibles turn up as stopping points on the sacred road map of our lives.

It is nearly impossible to view REVEALED: Portraits from Beneath One's Surface without reflecting upon one's own journey, a fact that makes the film all that more engaging. In the course of a mere 42 minutes, these 11 people become people with whom you will identify and with whom you will become completely and utterly engaged as they reveal with remarkable honesty the truths of their lives. The "stuff" of our lives matters, of course, but rather than focus the film on a disease or a job or a role, de Rezendes guides the film towards a sort of transcendence that refuses to so easily identify these people through their concrete identifiers.

In many ways, Revealed: Portraits from Beneath One's Surface feels like one of Indermaur's little boxes. As we get to know these wonderful people, we watch as they gather for their journey with all these wonderfully concrete ideas of how they will construct their box only to watch them, over the course of time, contemplation and conversation, deconstruct their journeys and allow their boxes to really take on a deeper meaning. This film is much the same way, starting off by giving us glimpses of those tangibles that comprise the REVEALED project and these 11 people before abandoning process and allowing the journey to go where it really needs to go.

The spiritual journeys are vastly different and the life experiences tangibly expressed vary greatly, but there's a wondrous commonality between the film's 11 people that comes magnificently to life as they slowly peel away the "stuff" and reveal the essence of their rather remarkable journeys. Watch the eyes as you watch REVEALED, because it's the eyes and the body language and the almost childlike wonder that is birthed as these subjects peel away their layers of life experience and return to the roots of who they are.

REVEALED is beautifully photographed by de Rezendes and, as well, perfectly incorporates the visionary photography of Scott Indermaur. Beth Burnett's music complements the film to utter perfection, as well, making for what is unquestionably an incredibly touching and life-changing documentary short.

REVEALED: Portraits from Beneath One's Surface had its world premiere in Newport, Rhode Island and has also screened in Providence, Rhode Island. Destined to be an audience favorite at both indie and documentary film festivals, REVEALED is a documentary short not to be missed if it arrives at a festival near you. 

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic