Back to the Garden: Flower Power Comes Full CircleJuly 28th, 2011 | Posted by in Film Festivals | Movie Reviews | New Releases
Back in 1988, documentary filmmaker Kevin Tomlinson ventured to rural Eastern Washington for a Healing Gathering. Inspired by the counterculture he encountered and its off-the-grid existence, he taped hours of footage of the event and conducted in-depth interviews with the patrons about their beliefs, lifestyle choices, and their thoughts on being called “hippies.” Each expressed his or her desire to live a simple life, entirely from the earth and away from the cosmopolitan world. The tapes would have remained forever in Tomlinson’s basement if curiosity hadn’t gotten the best of him a few years back.
Inspired by the footage and interested about the state of the young idealists, Tomlinson found each of his subjects twenty years later and allowed all of them to elaborate on where their flower child lifestyle has taken them. The result, the critically acclaimed documentary entitled Back to the Garden: Flower Power Comes Full Circle, is a fascinating look at these individuals and the so-called “hippie” way of life.
Tomlinson juxtaposes the footage of the original 1988 Healing Gathering with his modern interviews. Most of these flower children are continuing their off-the-grid lives: remaining with their families in the hills of Eastern Washington and living more like the pioneers of the 1800’s than most of urban America. They cultivate their own food and live in self-built homes with limited electricity and running water. This commitment to an eco-friendly existence is inspiring, but those living it are honest about the hardships and poverty they have had to endure. They discuss how they were raised and what brought them to live such a counterculture existence, away from the Internet, television and even the radio.
My favorite interviews were those with the adult children of these off-the-grid Americans. All were raised within non-conforming tribal families, often with a lot of freedom and land, but with very few material goods. They discuss getting teased for being a hippie in school, although all express gratitude for the values with which they were raised. One particularly interesting interview was with Estrella Windsong Rehanek, the daughter of a woman named OnePine, who talked openly about how her mother’s free love beliefs affected her and her siblings as children.
Back to the Garden: Flower Power Comes Full Circle is an intriguing and thorough look at a counterculture lifestyle based upon peace, love and, above all, a respect for the earth. Tomlinson gives an honest look at this simple, yet laborious commitment. This documentary has been featured in many festivals across America in the last few years and we at IndieFlix are honored to have this feature-length documentary in our library. What do you think of the “hippie” counterculture? Does the off-the-grid lifestyles appeal to you? Ever dream of attending Woodstock? Learn more about the Healing Gathering and its patrons in Back to the Garden: Flower Power Comes Full Circle on IndieFlix today.