Released in 2013, Luminous Journey: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in America represents a bold and pioneering effort by producers and directors Anne and Tim Perry to document in film the epic journey ‘Abdu’l-Bahá undertook at the age of 67, after a lifetime of exile and imprisonment, to promulgate in North America the teachings of his father, Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s 239 day sojourn in North America was an epoch-making proclamation of the Bahá’í teachings by this majestic “Servant of Glory” (1844-1921), known affectionately to his devoted followers as “the Master,” by means of magisterial public lectures, private talks, formal and informal gatherings, and personal conversations, during which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá imparted His extraordinary wisdom, love, and inspiration to the estimated 93,000 souls who heard his message of the dawning age of world peace, the unity of humanity and the oneness of religion. His eager audience included government officials, clerics, academics, followers of diverse religions, artists, journalists, children, students, and ordinary citizens, African-American and Caucasian alike. It also included the abject poor, who were the special object of his affection.
Luminous Journey succeeds in finding the right balance between the presentation of the progressive social and spiritual teachings ‘Abdu’l-Bahá promulgated and an exploration of His powerful and charismatic personality while, at the same time, capturing the dignity and solemnity of His remarkable journey, which took place against the backdrop of an America vibrant with new ideas.
Anne and Tim Perry, along with the cast of actors, perform silent but moving dramatizations of the responses that the presence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá evoked. These portrayals offer a fascinating and richly evocative dimension to the film’s documentation of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s coast-to-coast journey by train to present the Bahai teachings.
Five years in the making and shot in about 20 locations in the U.S. and Canada, the film was released to commemorate the centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s historic journey in 1912. Now the film has been re-edited with a Persian-language soundtrack, text, and graphics with additional music by Ává, so that Persian-speaking viewers will also have an opportunity to appreciate the film’s dynamic rendering of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s journey through America.