Wild Wild Country

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Wild Wild Country
Wild Wild Country.png
Genre
Directed by
Starring
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes6 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producers
ProducerJuliana Lembi
Running time64–71 minutes
Production companies
DistributorNetflix
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture format1080i
Original releaseMarch 16, 2018 (2018-03-16)

Wild Wild Country is a Netflix documentary series about the controversial Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), his one-time personal assistant Ma Anand Sheela, and their community of followers in the Rajneeshpuram community located in Wasco County, Oregon, US.[1][2][3] It was released on Netflix on March 16, 2018, after premiering at the Sundance Film Festival.[3][4][5][6] The title of the series is drawn from the Bill Callahan song "Drover", which features prominently in the final episode, and it also echoes the comments of Jane Stork ('Ma Shanti B') about first seeing the ranch, shown at the beginning of episode 2: "it was just so wild, so rugged, but vast - really wild country".

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
16March 16, 2018 (2018-03-16)

Season 1 (2018)[edit]

No.TitleOriginal release date
1"Part 1"March 16, 2018 (2018-03-16)
The movement begins in India in 1968. Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) is filling stadiums with 20-30K people. Osho speaks about capitalism, spirituality and sexuality and his followers practice a dynamic form of meditation. Westerners begin moving to India to join the movement so the group decides they want to build a commune but find political resistance in India. A westerner shares with them the Constitution of the United States and the group decides the United States is the best place for them to practice their way of life. They buy 80,000 acres in Antelope, Oregon (a very small town of about 50 people) and begin bringing in mobile homes and building materials to build their agricultural commune. Sheela, who met Osho when she was 16 years old, becomes the administrator managing the group's millions of dollars. The small community of locals living in Antelope is curious about their new neighbor, Osho who comes into town in a Rolls Royce and his followers, which number in the thousands. The group immediately falls on the radar of the FBI.
2"Part 2"March 16, 2018 (2018-03-16)
Ma Anand Sheela and several other Rajneesh sannyasins recount their experiences of moving to the ranch and the hostility from the residents of Antelope. The commune decides to become self-governing which would allow them to issue their own building permits, have separate law enforcement and be completely independent. With the help of architects, engineers, city planners and commune residents, Rajneeshees construct a town called Rajneeshpuram, with its own power station, plumbing, roads, shopping centre, houses, hall, airport and a large meditation hall. Locals describe their experiences of sannyasins and their mistrust towards Bhagwan. The American press begins to affiliate Rajneeshpuram with the Jonestown Massacre and paints Bhagwan as an antichrist and threat to Christianity. The documentary film Ashram in Poona: Bhagwans Experiment sparks concerns with Antelope locals. The group 1000 Friends of Oregon initiates a court case to have the buildings of Rajneeshpuram destroyed. Sheela begins buying up available properties in Antelope, a town of only 40 people, and the locals decide to disincorporate to prevent the Rajneeshees from taking political control. After a bombing of a Rajneesh-owned hotel in Portland, Oregon in 1983, security increases dramatically at the ranch.
3"Part 3"March 16, 2018 (2018-03-16)
The town members complain that the Rajneeshees are obsessed with sex, and can be heard having orgasmic experiences all day and all night. The Rajneesh Foundation's spokesperson, Ma Anand Sheela, is featured and behaves provocatively on several talk shows and news programs. Sheela says "she doesn't believe in turning the other cheek" and her words are muted or her interview is cut off when she uses curse words on air. By then, Bhagwan has 17 Rolls Royces. Rajneesh communes have popped up all over the world, with about 500,000 members. Sannyasins from all over the world come to Rajneesh in July 1983 for the annual festival. The one non-Rajneesh member in the town council is spying on the Rajneeshees. He collects garbage discarded by the group and discovers incriminating things, such as sham marriages. He passes the information to David Frohnmayer, the attorney general of the state of Oregon. Frohnmayer uses the Establishment Clause to say the creation of the city of Rajneesh (Antelope's new name) by these people is against the U.S. Constitution and he wants the city of Rajneesh to be declared 'null and void'. The Rajneesh start bringing busloads of homeless and street people from cities all over the U.S. to Rajneesh, also known as Rajneeshpuram. Sheela admits this is done to win Wasco County elections and in response the election commissioner refuses to register any new voters. Then members being interviewed say Sheela begins to speak of killing people she deems as obstacles.
4"Part 4"March 16, 2018 (2018-03-16)
The Rajneesh Medical Corporation are accused of having caused a large Salmonella outbreak in the town. Rajneesh deny it. Bhagwan tells Sheela they have to win county electoral seats. Ma Prem Hasya, a Hollywood celebrity hosts meditation parties to raise money for Bhagwan. Her access to Bhagwan makes Sheela nervous. Bhagwan is hooked on drugs and when Sheela confronts him, he tells her to "stay out of it". The Immigration and Naturalization Service denies Bhagwan's religious leader visa but Rajneesh lawyers appeal and win. Charles Turner, an attorney, investigates sham marriages at the commune. Les Zaitz, a journalist does an in-depth report on them, and The Oregonian newspaper publishes it. Sheela threatens violence when asked about the tension between Rajneeshees and authorities. Rumors about Rajneeshees are collected via a hotline. Sheela has Bhagwan's room wiretapped and says his doctor, Deva Raj, is planning to kill him on July 6, 1985. On September 13, 1985, Sheela and her associates, including one who tried to kill Deva Raj, leave the commune. Bhagwan, who has not spoken publicly in three and half years, says Sheela and her "gang of fascists" attempted to kill people.
5"Part 5"March 16, 2018 (2018-03-16)
After the plot to kill Deva Raj fails, Sheela and some of her close supporters flee to Germany. The Bhagwan breaks his three year silence to denounce Sheela and declare her a fascist criminal, then vows to use all his forces to hunt her down. Sheela, fearing for her life, goes into hiding. She admits in an interview that the Bhagwan is a con artist and that the path to enlightenment at the Rajneeshpuram was a delusion. Back at the ranch, Hasya is appointed Bhagwan’s new secretary and a new mayor is chosen. Bhagwan’s public accusations detailing Sheela’s crimes prompt the FBI to open a formal investigation of the community. FBI agents enter the ranch to investigate Sheela’s alleged crimes. At Sheela’s old house, they find a system of underground rooms and tunnels as well as wiretapping equipment. An affidavit reveals that the Rajneesh Medical Corporation (RMC), Ma Anand Puja and Sheela used drugs to sedate and poison Rajneesh who were expressing undesirable behaviors. Meanwhile, a crime lab traces the strain of salmonella from the local restaurant food poisonings back to the RMC lab where it was cultured. The Rajneesh perpetrators are suspected of doing a dry run of a plan to incapacitate enough voters on election day to sway the vote count in their favor. The Bhagwan blames Sheela for establishing the Rajneesh religion as his teachings are anti-religious. He then declares the death of the Rajneesh religion and the community celebrate by burning Sheela’s robes and the prayer Book of Rajneeshism. Sheela gives a tell-all interview with a German magazine. The FBI get search warrants to search the entire ranch. They raid the ranch to seize evidence and make the Bhagwan a prime target of their search. Most Sanyasins are uncooperative witnesses, unwilling to be disloyal to the Bhagwan. However, the FBI have luck with one cooperative witness, Krishna Deva the former mayor of Rajneesh who is promised protection under the Federal Witness Protection Act. Arrest warrants and a secret indictment are issued charging the Bhagwan and seven of his followers with thirty-five counts of conspiracy to defraud the United States and making false statements to harbor illegal aliens. The U.S. Marshalls anticipate that violence could erupt when they move in to make arrests as the community is well armed and geographically protected in a canyon. The Oregon National Guard and an FBI SWAT team are called in for stand-by support. Days before the arrests are made, a rancher spots two Learjets flying in then quickly out of the ranch. An informant tells the FBI that the Bhagwan has fled the ranch.
6"Part 6"March 16, 2018 (2018-03-16)
The search for Bhagwan begins. The airplane is brought down by communicating with the Coast Guard and the FAA and other officials from the US Justice Department. The US believes he would have flown to Bermuda to avoid extradition. Heavily armed agents meet the airplane at the Charlotte, North Carolina airport and arrest Bhagwan and 12 others. The US Marshalls take him from facility to facility in shackles for three weeks, upsetting his followers who say this is reckless and abusive. The US authorities, in turn, say he isn't getting any special treatment. The lawyer, in tears, explains that Bhagwan says he would go up to the Supreme Court if he thought the US would be fair, but that his body could not take what it had been subjected to, and was willing to plead guilty to the charges of arranging sham marriages. Afterwards he said 'I never want to return to the United States again' and left the US. Sheela and another follower were sent to federal prison after being found guilty of attempted murder. The followers leave the compound and on January 19, 1990 Bhagwan dies. His funeral is attended by many followers dressed in white, who celebrate. His body is taken to the burning ghast in a huge procession and burned. His ashes are then carried in another celebration with his followers dressed in maroon. At the mauseleum where his ashes are placed a plaque says 'OSHO. Never Born Never Died Only Visited this Planet Earth between Dec. 11, 1931-Jan. 19, 1990'.

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes surveyed 46 critical responses and judged 98% of them to be positive, with an average rating of 8.1 out of 10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Wild Wild Country succeeds as an intriguing examination of a forgotten piece of American history that must be seen to be believed."[7] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 79 out of 100, based on 8 critics, indicating generally favorable reviews.[8]

Sam Wollaston of The Guardian praised Wild Wild Country, giving it a 5 out of 5, stating that "It doesn’t matter how well you know the Rajneeshpuram story – you won’t have seen or heard it told as thoroughly as this".[9] Nick Allen of RogerEbert.com wrote "by handling this story so intelligently and by opening its heart to a very complicated idea of good and evil, Wild Wild Country has a profound, mesmerizing power itself".[10] Robert Lloyd of Los Angeles Times asserts that "The greater point of the series is its storytelling and wonderful variety of human self-representation, a useful reminder that no two people have the same story to tell. Every speaker is respectfully presented and allowed to speak their piece, and every one is well spoken; rancher or Rajneeshee, government lawyer or commune attorney, each can seem reasonable in turn".[11]

Criticism[edit]

Some have criticized Wild Wild Country for leaving out critical information regarding the activities of the Rajneesh followers, particularly regarding sexual assault of women and children as well as possible intent to unleash an AIDS epidemic.[12] Journalist Win McCormack wrote that "Where the filmmakers have fallen down on the job is in the area of interpretation. They have not addressed squarely some of the more important issues raised by their film, and have left others out completely. The latter category includes a few of the cult’s most odious practices, as well as the true extent of the threat it posed not only to its immediate neighbors in Oregon, but to the entire world."[12] Jane Stork, one of the main sources for this documentary, reported in her autobiography Breaking the Spell: My Life as a Rajneeshee and the Long Journey Back to Freedom (2009) that her own children were sexually abused during her time in Rajneeshpuram.[13] This was not included in the documentary.

Osho International Foundation's reaction[edit]

The Osho International Foundation, which co-administers Rajneesh's estate and operates the Osho International Meditation Resort in Pune, India, responded to the docuseries on their website Osho Times, saying that "Unfortunately, the docuseries fails to explore key aspects and so does not give a clear account of the real story behind the story", and arguing that the events in Oregon were part of "a U.S. government conspiracy, from the White House on down, aimed at thwarting Osho’s vision of a community based on conscious living."[14]

Accolades[edit]

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2018 Critics' Choice Documentary Awards  Best Documentary Wild Wild Country Nominated [15]
Best Limited Documentary Series Nominated
Most Innovative Documentary Nominated
Best Cinematography Adam Stone Nominated
Hollywood Music In Media Awards Best Music Supervision – Television Chris Swanson Nominated [16]
International Documentary Association Best Limited Series Wild Wild Country Won [17]
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Sound Editing for a Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera) Wild Wild Country Nominated [18]
Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Nonfiction Program (Single or Multi-Camera) Chapman Way Nominated
Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming Neil Meiklejohn Nominated
Outstanding Directing for a Documentary/Nonfiction Program Chapman Way
Maclain Way
Nominated
Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series Wild Wild Country Won
2019
American Cinema Editors Best Edited Documentary - Non-Theatrical Neil Meiklejohn Nominated [19]
Cinema Eye Honors Outstanding Achievement in Nonfiction Series for Broadcast Chapman Way
Maclain Way
Nominated [20]
Producers Guild of America Awards Outstanding Producer of Non-Fiction Television Jay Duplass
Mark Duplass
Josh Braun
Dan Braun
Juliana Lembi
Nominated [21]

Soundtrack[edit]

The show's score album was released on September 21, 2018, via Western Vinyl Records.[22] The soundtrack was composed by Brocker Way.[23][24] Apart from the score, numerous pre-released songs were also used throughout the series.[25]

Wild Wild Country (Original Score)
Wild Wild Country Soundtrack.jpg
Soundtrack album by
Brocker Way
Released21 September 2018 (2018-09-21)
Genre
Length43:27
Label
ProducerBrocker Way

Track listing[edit]

Wild Wild Country (Original Score)[26]
No.TitleLength
1."The Guillotine"1:53
2."Fashionable Leather Shoes"1:01
3."Come Home"2:25
4."Life for Myself"2:33
5."Those of Us Who Were There"3:24
6."The New Man"2:04
7."High Desert"4:04
8."Be Grateful for This Beautiful Home"2:21
9."Church and State"2:17
10."An Adventure of My Life"6:23
11."Spies in Overalls"2:08
12."The Takeover"3:04
13."Chosen People"3:32
14."It Was a Town"2:49
15."The Burning Ghats"3:29
Total length:43:27

Related films[edit]

In January 2019, Priyanka Chopra announced that she will be starring as Ma Anand Sheela in an Amazon Studios feature film adaptation of Wild Wild Country. Titled Sheela, the drama film was written by Nick Yarborough and will be directed by Barry Levinson.[27][28]

In November 2019, Netflix announced a documentary titled Searching for Sheela, which follows Osho's former top aide on her first journey home to India in more than 30 years. The documentary aims to give insight into Sheela's involvement and later prosecution for the 1984 Rajneeshee bioterror attack in Oregon. The documentary premiered on Netflix on April 22, 2021.[29][30]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Debnath, Neela (March 8, 2018). "Wild Wild Country on Netflix: When is Wild Wild Country released on Netflix?". Daily Express. Express Newspapers. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  2. ^ HT Correspondent (March 1, 2018). "Wild Wild Country trailer: New Netflix series will take you behind the controversial history of Osho". The Hindustan Times. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  3. ^ a b Turnquist, Kristi (March 14, 2018). "Netflix documentary on Rajneeshees in Oregon revisits an amazing, enraging true story". The Oregonian. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  4. ^ "Wild Wild Country". Sundance Film Festival. The Sundance Institute. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  5. ^ Finberg, Daniel. "'Wild Wild Country': TV Review | Sundance 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  6. ^ Schager, Nick (March 12, 2018). "Inside the Crazy Sex Cult That Invaded Oregon". The Daily Beast. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  7. ^ "Wild Wild Country: Season 1". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  8. ^ "Wild Wild Country: Season 1". Metacritic. Red Ventures. Retrieved May 7, 2022.
  9. ^ "Wild Wild Country review – Netflix's take on the cult that threatened American life". The Guardian. 11 April 2018. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  10. ^ Allen, Nick (16 March 2018). "Netflix Docuseries Wild Wild Country is Fascinating Entertainment". RogerEbert.com. Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved April 13, 2018.
  11. ^ Lloyd, Robert (16 March 2018). "Review: The doc 'Wild Wild Country' is a twisty tale of sex, scandal and a controversial guru". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 13 April 2022.
  12. ^ a b McCormack, Win (2018-03-27). "Outside the Limits of the Human Imagination". The New Republic.
  13. ^ Sussex, Lucy (April 19, 2009). "Breaking The Spell : My Life As A Rajneeshee, And The Long Journey Back To Freedom - BOOKS". The Sunday Age. Fairfax Media. p. 21 (Section: M).
  14. ^ "Wild Wild Country – The story behind the Story of Rajneeshpuram". oshotimes.com. Osho International Foundation. March 31, 2018. Retrieved March 31, 2018.
  15. ^ Lewis, Hilary (10 November 2018). "2018 Critics' Choice Documentary Awards Winners: Full List". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  16. ^ Yang, Rachel (16 October 2018). "'Black Panther,' 'A Star Is Born' Lead 2018 Hollywood Music in Media Awards Nominees". Variety. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  17. ^ Lewis, Hilary (8 December 2018). "IDA Documentary Awards: 'Minding the Gap' Wins Best Feature". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  18. ^ "Wild Wild Country: Nominations and awards". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  19. ^ Sheehan, Paul (January 7, 2019). "2019 ACE Eddie Awards: Full list of nominations led by Best Picture Oscar frontrunners". Gold Derby. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
  20. ^ "2019 Cinema Eye Honors". Cinema Eye Honors. 9 December 2019. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  21. ^ "Producers Guild Awards 2019 Nominees: List in Full". The Hollywood Reporter. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2022.
  22. ^ "Netflix's "Wild Wild Country" Soundtrack Announced". Pitchfork. 28 June 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  23. ^ Trakin, Roy (24 August 2018). "'Wild, Wild Country' Composer Scores Vinyl Release for Brothers' Netflix Hit". Variety. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  24. ^ "Brocker Way: Wild Wild Country (Original Score)". Pitchfork. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  25. ^ Amter, Charlie (18 April 2018). "The Music Behind the Guru: Inside the Making of the 'Wild Wild Country' Soundtrack (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  26. ^ "Wild Wild Country (Original Score) by Brocker Way". Apple Music. 21 September 2018. Retrieved 14 April 2022.
  27. ^ Bowenbank, Starr (2019-01-30). "'Wild Wild Country' Is Being Made Into a Movie and Priyanka Chopra Is Playing Ma Anand Sheela". ELLE. Retrieved 2021-04-15.
  28. ^ Galuppo, Mia (2020-02-20). "Priyanka Chopra Jonas to Play Ma Anand Sheela in Amazon Movie | Hollywood Reporter". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2021-04-15.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  29. ^ Oregonian/OregonLive, Kristi Turnquist | The (2019-11-01). "Ma Anand Sheela, of Oregon's Rajneesh saga and 'Wild Wild Country' fame, will star in new Netflix documentary". oregonlive. Retrieved 2021-04-14.
  30. ^ Dry, Jude (2021-04-13). "'Searching for Sheela' Trailer: Netflix Doc on 'Wild Wild Country' Guru's Right Hand Woman". IndieWire. Retrieved 2021-04-14.

External links[edit]