Artist tests limits of mind, body
Famed Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic takes a long, strange trip across Brazil in search of spiritual and physical healing and creative inspiration in the intriguing, wellshot documentary “The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic and Brazil.”
The movie, filmed from in 2012-13, finds Abramovic facing an eclectic, esoteric string of sacred rituals, natural curative techniques and cathartic immersions with her trademark openness, curiosity and audacity.
As in her art, Abramovic freely tests the limits of her oft-exposed body. She also provides earnest, at times amusing, voice-over to accompany her eye-opening encounters. (Abramovic cowrote with Fabiana Wernick Barcinski and director Marco Del Fiol.)
Among the many vivid folks she meets: João Teixeira de Faria (a.k.a. “John of God”), a “psychic surgeon” whose blunt medical procedures can be tough to watch; a chatty near-110year-old; a longtime midwife and plant healer; an ebullient chef; and shamans, sages and musicians.
Abramovic also experiments with herb and crystal therapies as well as the indigenous psychedelic drug Ayahuasca, the taking of which results in what she calls “probably the worst experience of my life.” She gamely tries it again later to better effect.
More specific sense of time and route (a map, anyone?) and a bit of even basic scientific scrutiny would have improved this otherwise compelling and provocative journey. — Gary Goldstein “The Space in Between: Marina Abramovic and Brazil.” Not rated. In English and Portuguese with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes. Playing: Downtown Independent, Los Angeles; also on VOD.