Down Dog

L.A. can glamorize any religion or philosophical thought and make it a fad. Madonna did it with Kabala and now Guru Dave (Jeffrey Johnson) with Yoga. He’s on the cover of Vanity Fair, appearing on Entertainment Tonight, and women are lining up to take his class just to have a glimpse of the master. In “Down Dog”, Richard Roll expresses his view of the yoga show in a short film comedy.

Guru Dave is a false prophet who claims he will reach level 12 of yoga – the levitation level. Guru Sri Babajiji Yogananda sends “Boddhisatva” Grace to end the conspiracy. The film examines how people who follow a philosophical fad tend to not incorporate the entire belief system. Dave is anything but selfless and focuses on sexual passion rather than freedom from worldly pleasures. His followers or classmates are concerned more with looking good and catching Dave’s eye; everyone wants to feel the love of the master.

Roll wrote this film from his own perspective as one who practices yoga quite regularly, but it’s doubtful that he intended his film to come off as a satire of yoga. In fact, the joke is aimed at some of the people he noticed starting to take their spiritual journey through yoga. It executes a commentary without offense.

The opening to “Down Dog” pushes the viewer right into the comic intent of the film. Some of the shots are very bright and vivid in color, much like a lomographic camera. It’s amazing that a first attempt at writing and directing for Roll has landed him such a successful short film. The film has been accepted to several film festivals, and won “Best Short Film” at the Boulder International Film Festival in 2005.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

for more information on all things "Down Dog", including upcoming screenings, festival appearances and swag. please visit the film's website at:


10:02 PM  

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