Synopsis by Clarke Fountain
In this short documentary, legendary German filmmaker Werner Herzog lightly touches on the varieties of religious and related beliefs which enrich, enliven or distort the lives of so many Russians. Whether it is exploring the ancient mysticism of Russian Orthodoxy and the extreme asceticism it inspires in the faithful, or the weird manifestations of modern-day hucksters and faith-healers, the film only goes skin-deep. However, reviewers also found that the "skin" is a colorful and interesting one. One highlight of the documentary is its inclusion of several unusual musical interludes, including Tuvan throat-singing and a virtuoso performance on a carillon of bells.