In the Beginning There Was Light
|In The Beginning There Was Light|
Official US-Release Poster "In The Beginning There Was Light"
|Directed by||P.A. Straubinger|
|Produced by||Helmut Grasser|
|Written by||P.A. Straubinger|
|Starring||Prahlad Jani, Rupert Sheldrake, Amit Goswami, Brian Josephson, Jasmuheen, Zinaida Baranova, Michael Werner, Robert Jahn, Dean Radin |
|Language||English, German, Gujarati, Mandarin, Russian|
In The Beginning There Was Light is a documentary film by Austrian director P. A. Straubinger on the subject of inedia. Straubinger visits several people who supposedly nourish themselves with "light" and tries to find possible explanations on how inedia might work. P. A. Straubinger researched inedia for ten years. This led to the film’s production, which took five years. The film premiered on May 13, 2010 at the Cannes Film Festival. "In The Beginning There Was Light" was shown all over the world and became one of the most successful feature documentaries in Austrian cinema history.
P.A. Straubinger first encounters inedia in a television documentary about Nicholas of Flüe, a 15th-century ascetic who was reported to have lived 19 years without eating. Later, Straubinger starts research on the internet and subsequently has the desire to meet people practising inedia. He travels through different countries and interviews people who claim to nourish themselves with light, vitality, Prana or Qi, among them Jasmuheen, Michael Werner and "Mataji" Prahlad Jani. Straubinger also consults different people from classical and alternative medicine and science and looks for explanatory models for inedia. Straubinger conveys that for him, the materialistic world view of modern science falls short.
Due to its commercial success, especially in the German speaking countries, "In The Beginning There Was Light" was discussed in the mainstream media on a broad basis and received enthusiastic acclaim as well as harsh criticism. In the talk show "Menschen bei Maischberger" in Germany´s National Television Das Erste  and two TV-discussions in the Austrian National Television ORF critics warned that the film could motivate people to stop eating. Director P.A. Straubinger explained that this would be a complete misunderstanding of his film. He repeatedly stated that he does not want to motivate anybody to stop eating but he would advocate eating consciously without asserting any particular nutritional ideology. The only goal of his film would be to question the predominating, mechanistic-materialistic understanding of the human body and nature in general, and to motivate scientists to open up and do further research in the field of mind-matter interaction Concerning alleged misunderstandings, Straubinger points out that he shows in his film not only the tragic cases of starvation related to the so- called "Breatharian Process", communicated by the Australian author Jasmuheen, but he also features protagonists and experts who explicitly speak out not to make dangerous self-experiments or try a breatharian lifestyle out of "spiritual ambition". In Switzerland, according to the national newspaper Tages-Anzeiger, a woman who saw the film attempted to live on sunlight alone, and died in January 2012. The film´s Official Website calls articles that implicate a responsibility of "In The Beginning There Was Light" for the woman´s death a hoax, and presents as support for this claim a facsimile of an e-mail that the responsible state attorney wrote to the director in which he confirms that no third party could be made responsible for the death of the woman and an adequate causality between the film and the death could be definitely excluded.
Awards and Festivals
- Prädikat Besonders Wertvoll - Highest possible rating of the Official Austrian Film Evaluation Commission for excellent films with an outstanding impact on society 
- Austrian Ticket / Austrian Film Award - Prize for the most successful Austrian Film of the Year 
- Cosmic Cine Festival - Jury Award 
- Cannes Film Festival - Marché du Film 
- Bergen International Film Festival - Official Selection 
- Munich International Film Festival - Official Selection 
- Noordelijk Film Festival Leuwarden - Official Selection 
- Planete Doc Film Festival Warsaw - Official Selection 
- Vukovar Film Festival - Official Selection 
- Awareness Film Festival Los Angeles - Official Selection 
- Heath, Pamela Rae (17 February 2011). Mind-Matter Interaction: A Review of Historical Reports, Theory and Research. McFarland. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-7864-5668-0.
- * Associated Press