The Way Brothers — Chapman and Maclain — discuss WILD WILD COUNTRY and the Saga of Bhagwan’s Failed Utopia

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wild wild country posterThe Way Brothers’ six-part documentary chronicles the strange saga of self-proclaimed spiritual leader Bhagwan, later known as Osho, and his devotees, as they created a Utopian community on a vast tract of rough terrain in rural Oregon during the 1980s.

Initially the gurus idealistic followers came from around the world to build an entire self-sustaining compound in which they lived and worked communally, often welcoming down-and-out vagrants to join them for a better life. But local government authorities, town folk and ranchers felt they were under siege from an invading army of free-thinkers who defied ‘normal’ social conventions – that they had sex in public places was a big complaint — and tried, in vain, to oust them from Wasco County.

External pressures lead to internal confrontations and eventually the Utopia became a scene of chaos and crime. The Way brothers draw from an extraordinary cache of archival footage — much of it filmed secretly with hidden cameras placed within the compound — that reveals the daily life of devotees, as well as Baghwan/Osho’s erratic behavior, and the confrontational disposition of his right-hand secretary, Ma Anan Sheela, a woman who actually ran and monitored all aspects of the community.

Ma Anan Sheela, now living in Switzerland, expresses her take on the story extensively in on camera interviews that punctuate the archival footage, along with additional interviews with other key persons in the community and with local folk who have a lot to say about what they consider to have been a daunting ordeal.

The fascinating film series raises a lot of questions about cults, seekers of justice, and the American way. To hear the Way Brothers’ equally fascinating answers to my questions about the story and their filmmaking process, listen to my exclusive interview

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