Most of the time, when a reporter goes to cover a feature story, they’ve done some background research and carry along some questions to ask of the subject(s) of the interview. Because I was tasked with babysitting three grandchildren over a four-day period, when I headed for the Rustic on Saturday, I carried only an empty notebook, pencil and camera, and an inkling of what “A Man Called God” was about.
When the credits began, I wrote down names of principal players — Christopher, Kristoff and Maria St. John, Baird Bryant — and an image popped into my head of a Town Hall photo in my office files of a young couple and a little boy — maybe 6 or 7 — from the 1970s (click here to see the photo).
At some point in time, I had hoped to research the people in that photo since I remember the faces of the grown-ups from TV and film. And here I was, watching a very personal documentary another Idyllwild resident, Baird, had filmed of their lives.
After this powerful documentary showed, I met up with Kristoff with a notebook full of notes and questions. He talked about his film and about those two years in his Idyllwild playground.
Among other things, I asked him about the gripping scene in an otherwise colorful movie where the film drops to black and white with subtitles — a scene where his father, among thousands of people, is trying to get the attention of the guru for a private interview about Kristoff’s molestations.
Personally for me, opting for B&W turned this orange-robed “God” into an ordinary man and his father into a hero. “I thought it was more poignant with no sound, that this was such a severe moment in time that we didn’t need it,” he said. “When I drained it, it was just perfect.”