I love documentaries as I've stated here before and I was recently given the opportunity to view an interesting film called The Amish: Shunned. It's a film that's beautifully done and is visually pleasing to look at as well as being very compelling. I was drawn into the film almost immediately.
This film by Callie T. Wiser, follows seven former Amish members as they reflect upon their decision to leave their communities. Each former member has their own reasons for leaving the Amish community and it's intriguing to follow their stories. The Amish don't allow on-camera interviews and for current members the viewer is only able to hear their voices. However, those who have left the community are free to talk on camera and are quite candid about their own personal stories.
When the Amish choose to leave their communities they are shunned. This is a practice that involves them being put out of the church and being blocked from having social or familial contact once they leave. Those that leave are told that they will not get into heaven if they leave the church. Often it is the young people who decide to leave in order to experience a different way of life in the outside world. The Amish have very tight-knit communities and drive horse-drawn carriages instead of driving cars. They are not interested in the modern way of doing things and appreciate a simpler life. I must admit that even though some things in their lifestyle look restrictive there was a strong sense of family and community it seemed.
Some of the Amish who leave the community go on and have good lives in the outside world although there is the strain of detachment from their families. And then there are others who find the transition to the modern outside world to be daunting and struggle with the pace of life outside of their communities. As I watched the film, I more than once thought of how quiet their world is in comparison to the outside world.
This is a fascinating documentary and I would definitely recommend it because it gives a glimpse into a world that most of us do not know. Before viewing this film I only knew small amounts about the Amish but this film proved to be very helpful in presenting a fair view of this community.
The Amish: Shunned will be premiere on PBS America on Sky channel 534 and Virgin Media channel 243 at 8pm on Sunday, February 9th. It will be shown again on February 14th at 9pm.
Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of this documentary for review purposes only. I was not paid. All
opinions are my own.