Synopsis by Mark Deming
While Sajani might seem like an ordinary eight-year-old girl who likes to play with her friends and throw tea parties, much of her day is devoted to more serious concerns -- in Nepal, Sajani is worshiped as a living goddess, having been judged to be the reincarnation of the Goddess Taleju, and the girl's divinity is celebrated by Hindus and Buddhists alike. Sanjani and two other youthful goddesses are the focus of Living Goddess, a documentary filmmaker Ishbel Whitaker. While Sajani is given a certain amount of freedom to live an ordinary life by her parents, fellow goddesses Chanira and Preeti are rarely if ever allowed to leave their homes, and Preeti doesn't even live with her parents, who may only visit her within the same circumstances as other worshipers. While these young girls have been handed a great spiritual responsibility, they also have been put in the middle of a political firestorm -- for years Nepal has been plagued by fighting between revolutionary forces and the military and police who serve under the King, and while a revolution would likely bring democracy to Nepal, many believe it would also destroy the alliance between the nations Buddhists and Hindus, which is symbolized by the living goddesses in the eyes of many. Living Goddess received its world premiere at the 2007 Silverdocs Film Festival, a competition founded by the American Film Institute and The Discovery Channel.
goddess [mythological], political-unrest, political-upheaval, reincarnation, royalty, worship [religious]