Set and Setting
Becoming Nobody is the quintessential portal to Ram Dass’ life and teachings.
His ability to entertain and his sense of humor are abundantly evident in a conversation that brings us around to address the vast question of ultimate freedom.
Becoming Nobody represents the core arc of Ram Dass’ teachings and life: whether as Dr. Richard Alpert, the eminent Harvard psychologist, or as Ram Dass who serves as a bridge between Eastern and Western philosophies, he has defined a generation of inner explorers and seekers of truth and wisdom. Through his turns as scion of an eminent Jewish family from Boston, rock-star Harvard psychologist, counter-culture rascally adventurer, Eastern holy man, stroke survivor and compassionate caregiver, Ram Dass has worn many hats on his journey, the narrative of which is revealed in this film.
In Becoming Nobody, historic clips balance an engaging conversation with director Jamie Catto. We come to understand how our old roles and disguises become increasingly burdensome. The film captures a loving man full of joy, wit, honesty and wisdom, at ease in conversation while sharing his considerable pains and pleasures. The life experiences that have freed him from the attachments of his ‘somebody-ness’ have transformed him into the radiant soul who now inspires a new generation.
About the Movie
In 1988, aspiring London filmmaker and musician, Jamie Catto, then 20 years old, heard a cassette of Ram Dass after attending a yoga class. In 1994, he met Ram Dass at a UK retreat while his girlfriend was pregnant with the first of his three daughters. Jamie was never the same person after that.
Catto interviewed Ram Dass for the first time in 2001 in a wonderful moment in the film One Giant Leap (2002), which was subsequently released through Palm Pictures. This interview was followed by another for the second Giant Leap installment, What About Me? (2005).
In the course of his many visits with Ram Dass in Hawaii, Jamie met Raghu Markus, Producer of Becoming Nobody and Executive Director of Love Serve Remember Foundation. Jamie shared his desire to make “THE Ram Dass film” with Raghu. With a background in the music industry, Raghu understood the historic value of creating a seminal film of Ram Dass’ life of observations and shared experience. The goal of reaching out beyond a core group already familiar with Ram Dass would require a more comprehensive feature length film, one with a broader perspective and appeal that would synthesize and coalesce his life of work and wisdom.
Wit and humor in the context of a casual conversation seemed a good way to deliver heady information in a simple, entertaining, and illuminating fashion. Blessed with a delightful and articulate on-screen personality, Ram Dass would be up to the task. Even with the after-effects of a severe stroke, Ram Dass delivers an engaging narrative, touching the joy, the foibles, and the honesty for the very essence of his work and relevance.
Using his own life as an example through the director’s interview, accompanied by archival footage and original music, Ram Dass explores our universal human condition and behaviors in connection to the journey of the soul and the shared unity of all of our lives. The initial core interview was filmed in March of 2015 at Ram Dass’ home on the island of Maui, Hawaii.
Extended archive video footage courtesy of the following:
- “Sunseed” a film by Amertat Cohn
- Kathy Alpert – Alpert Family Archive
- CBC – Canadian Interview with Richard Alpert
- CBC Archive Sales
- Other Cinema Archive
- Pelinger Archive
- “An Evening With Ram Dass” provided courtesy of Steve Stein and BetterListen, © 1986, 2008 BetterListen LLC BetterListen.com