The Last Shaman

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Basically an extended infomercial for white people co-opting the spiritual practices of indigenous Peruvians. It’s an almost embarrassingly bad take (complete with misspelled title cards) on an interesting story about James, a young American from Boston who decides to treat his depression by traveling to Peru to study with shamans who use the ayahuasca plant as medicine. James’ story—which includes witnessing a death, being partially buried alive, communing with plants in isolation, and engaging with his adopted community—is compelling enough. And anyone who is willing to go on record about their mental health has my respect. But it’s too bad his story was entrusted to these filmmakers, who frame it with such reverence and so little critical thought that the narrative we’re left with is completely bereft of nuance. by Megan Burbank
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Raz Degan
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