Last Hipie Standing Goa is not a place – Goa is a State of Mind is a re-issued cult documentary by Marcus Robbin who went in search of the ‘last hippie in Goa’ and he manages to find some interesting traces of that culture which began in late sixties and late seventies when the western hippie movement was dying out through commercialisation. Marcus very cleverly unfolds the hippie scene through a series of interviews as well as some great original super 8 footage from the seventies. What he also tackles is peoples perception of hippies in Goa as well as highlighting the fact that there is a cultural heritage that is still evolving.
The film starts with the modern day, the trance music scene that thrives in Goa, a far cry from the guitars and flutes of the first hippie communities on the beaches of Anjuna. The two cultures are linked even if the 170bpm music does not sound the same there is the undercurrent of escape and an alternative lifestyle. Locals offer their mystified responses to the music yet young people still arrive in their droves for the popular full moon parties.
The film highlight is the reurn to the seventies through the use of some amazing footage that has never been seen before. The film focuses around three individuals:
Cleo Odzer: A New Yorker who came to Goa in the seventies. She left in the 80’s due to drug problems but returned 20 years later. The film is dedicated to her memory as she passed away in 2001.
Swami William: A very fascinating man who was one of the orginal seekers from San Francisco. He lives in a Himilayan mountain village and gives an insight into the influence of hinduism on the hippie culture.
Goa Gil: Another intersting man who is a top trance DJ who also arrived from San Francisco in the seventies. You can’t help but like the man as there is nothing not to like about him in the documentary.
Whilst the documentary is a great insight there is an underlying purpose to it which becomes evident during the interview with the Chief Minister of Goa who states that they don’t want hippies in Goa as they don’t spend any money. They want rich tourists who will inject money into ‘the system’. There is a sad irony to this but also a heightened desire which drives Marcus Robbin’s vision of a global village in Goa. He has already begun work on a documentary sequel to this which is being financed by donations.
And the last hippies? Yes, they are still there, some arrived and disappeared into Indian society as Sadhus. Others left and returned like Cleo. Whilst they lived in a sepearate reality and saw the sun and moon differently to how others may see them there is something very endearing about those first communal societies. They lived simple lives and did not accumulate wealth and numerous possessions. There were very few dwellings in Anjuna so people built their own huts or slept under trees…they ran flea markets to exchange goods that they needed such as clothes etc. The documentary does paint a very flowery picture, but it also highlights how that culture has evolved and thrived in the face of growing commercialism. Looking forward to the sequel!
Scenes and Interview:
Goa Gil – The Secret
Marcus Robbin – Interview in Goa (May 2011)
LAST HIPPIE STANDING II (Trailer 01)