CANNES, FRANCE, May 14, 2005: Darshan – The Embrace, a film on the life of Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, popularly known as Amma, has been officially selected for showcasing at the prestigious 2005 Cannes Film Festival. The film has been directed by Jan Kounen, an award-winning film-maker based in France, and produced by Manuel De La Roche of France. The film festival, now in its 58th year, will screen the film on May 18 at 10.15 pm. Jan Kounen and his crew began shooting for the film in 2003 during Amma’s 50th birthday celebrations in Kochi. Later, Kounen and his team travelled with Amma on her Indian and international tours in order to complete the film. Jan Kounen has several feature films to his credit, including Blueberry (2003), a mystical western that starred Vincent Cassel, Juliette Lewis and Michael Madsen.

On the festival web site, here, the film is described:

“Throughout its history, India has kept a profound sense of the sacred. Hindu tradition offers a privileged place to ‘great souls’ (Mahatma), to spiritual guides. As a travel diary deep inside the heart of India and Hinduism, ‘Darshan’ focuses on one of the most important Mahatmas alive: Amma. This woman has won a very important place in the Indian community today. Her fight for peace, against poverty and illiteracy earned her the Gandhi King Prize in 2002 (previously awarded to great personalities such as Khofi Annan or Nelson Mandela). For the very first time, Amma agreed to open the doors of her own world to a foreign director. Jan Kounen had the opportunity to accompany her across India, from Jaipur to Calcutta, via Benares. ‘Darshan’ invites the audience to discover and better understand what makes Indian spirituality so unique.”