Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

All You Need Is Lust -- and a Ranch, Bags of Cash and a 'Secretary' Pulling the Strings

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

All You Need Is Lust -- and a Ranch, Bags of Cash and a 'Secretary' Pulling the Strings

Article excerpt

Byline: Lucy Hunter Johnston The Viewer

Wild Wild Country Netflix IF RIOTOUS sex-cult documentaries are your thing - and this is a safe space where you can freely admit that they are -- then clear your weekend, because the latest series to land on Netflix is a jaw-dropping romp through the rise and fall of Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his legion of lusty disciples, and it's utterly magnificent. In 1981, Bhagwan left his booming ashram in Poona, India, to establish a utopia in that well-known promised land, Oregon, where he had purchased a sprawling 65,000-acre ranch. With a vision that was an irresistible mix of mysticism, hedonism and, er, capitalism, he aimed to build a city of 50,000 "sannyasins" who would live in a selfsufficient community where free love ruled -- and cash flowed freely enough for him to accrue a fleet of 17 Rolls-Royces and build his own airport.

Unfortunately, the next-door neighbours -- a sleepy retirement village named Antelope, with a population of just 50 -- were none too pleased about the orange-clad shaggers up the road ("They had this look in their eyes" - postcoital bliss, perhaps?), and mounted something of an opposition. The Rajneeshes responded in kind: "When Jesus says, 'You turn your other cheek,' [Bhagwan says] you take both of their cheeks", recalls one of their members.

Before the open credits have rolled, we are blasted with a series of extraordinary revelations about what is to come: the largest mass poisoning in American history. The largest wire-tapping case. The largest immigration fraud. And from then on, it gets increasingly more fantastic. There are bombings, shootings, religious epiphanies, plots and orgies aplenty ("Free love? Well, we don't charge for it," they say) The six-part series is directed by brothers Chapman and Maclain Way, although much like Making a Murderer the documentary makers are silent here. …

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