The Portal is an experiential documentary directed and written by Jacqui Fifer, consulting six pioneers on their visions for humanity through mindfulness of meditation. (BV: 3.0/5.0)
Review by Junior Associate Beatrice Viri
The Portal centers six different subjects, who are philosophers, scientists, and innovators, and even features Sophia the Robot. They speak about their life’s work and traumas, and how meditation has helped them navigate through their issue and tapped into their inner potentials.
If The Portal was an arthouse film, it would be more successful as it’s so unconventional and experimental. Visually, the film is stunning; each frame is picturesque and the quality is crystal clear. The motion graphics and typography are also unique in presentation, gliding in like futuristic holographic text in sci-fi movies.
However, overall The Portal is incredibly hard to follow, and watching at home makes it worse You’ll probably click away in the first ten minutes if you’re not being forced to watch it. There are six storylines and we only scratch the surface with each innovator; it’s hard to fully care about each individual though the subjects they talk about are interesting in their own right. Each storyline also jumps quickly with minimal transition, and though the conclusion pits together their relevance, it causes disarray.
Ironically, a documentary about meditation that “directs and defines human attention” took a long time to get to the subject to begin with. It’s quite a shame, because the inherent message The Portal tries to convey is so significant– that essentially, unlocking the untapped potential of our minds through meditation can help solve our world’s impending crises. But truthfully, not many people will even get to that conclusion.
© Beatrice Viri 11/18/2019
Does The Portal pass the Bechdel-Wallace test?
Theoretically, it does as Fifer asks the questions, but it’s hard to say with documentaries.