Conrad Rooks’ second pic, Siddhartha, based on the 1922 book by Hermann Hesse, takes place 2,500 years ago in India. It is about a well-to-do young Brahmin who feels he must leave home and find himself and also echoes a man questing for nirvana in a confused society.
Rooks has chosen to give this a surface elegance which sometimes robs the film of its needed earthiness and sensuality in its love angle and more robustness in detailing the vagaries of social aspects and values at the time. But it does have a fine photographic beauty in the hands of Swedish lenser Sven Nykvist.
Siddhartha, after leaving his father, roams with a friend for years, with a group of holy men. Then he meets a great teacher who preaches the need for one’s own way to inner harmony who may be the Buddha himself.