Urban Cinefile
"I had a middle class, suburban upbringing - which I loathed. I kept my sanity by watching old Hollywood movies on the tv, where everyone was beautiful and had great emotions, and all the staircases had 400 steps."  -New Zealander Martin Wells, co-writer, co-director of Desperate Remedies
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Tuesday, December 5, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

BEYOND OUR KEN

SYNOPSIS:
Ken Dyers and his wife Jan Hamilton set up and ran Kenja, an organization in which they ran a variety of activities based on Dyer's ideas about 'energy transfer' as a means of helping people deal with their insecurities and other problems. Kenja positioned itself as a social community promising 'spiritual enlightenment', but throughout its 25 year history it attracted accusations of being a cult - and of sexual abuse against members, including minors. In July 2007, police requested an interview with Dyers about an allegation by Kenja attendees that he'd sexually abused their daughter. The following day Dyers shot himself - shortly before the premiere of this documentary at the Melbourne Film Festival (where it was voted 3rd most popular doco).

Review by Andrew L. Urban:
Thoroughly riveting, Beyond Our Ken was made with the co-operation of Ken Dyer and Jan Hamilton, allowing the filmmakers insider access - Luke Walker joined up for six months to have such access. Interviews with past 'attendees' as the members are called, since Dyer refuses to acknowledge that anyone actually joins, and with Ken and Jan, form the bulk of the film, which succeeds in painting a pretty balanced insight.

This is what makes it so damning and so effective: it is our own perception and selection that is engaged as the story unfolds. Ambiguity and plenty of grey areas make the film much more satisfying than any demolition job would have done. We are not given a cardboard cutout of the devil - he's just a badly misguided man who did in fact seem to help some people, while destroying or damaging others.

Dyers and Hamilton come across as self deluded people who have justified what they do - which seems to have made them a lot of money - on humanistic grounds. They seem unaware how contrary to that stated objective some of their actions appear.

The film also highlights the vulnerability of many (like Cornelia Rau) who are indeed needy, but whose needs Kenja simply does not and cannot meet.

In the extras interview on the DVD, Ken Dyers refers to himself as a spirit - and this is an important clue to his view of it all. All these extra interviews have something of value and interest to add and are well worthwhile; some of the material revealed is both fascinating and surprising.

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

BEYOND OUR KEN (M)
(Aust, 2007)

CAST: Documentary featuring Ken Dyers and former Kenja attendees

PRODUCER: Luke Walker, Melissa Maclean

DIRECTOR: Luke Walker, Melissa Maclean

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Luke Walker, Melissa Maclean, Adrian Price

EDITOR: Luke Walker, Stefan Markworth

MUSIC: Jules Pascoe, Gideon Preiss

OTHER: Sofija Stefanovic (investigative research and idea development)

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Nova Melbourne: September 18, 2008

PRESENTATION: 16:9; DD 2.0

SPECIAL FEATURES: Six interviews - with Ken Dyers, former Kenja attendees, and cult experts

DVD DISTRIBUTOR: Hopscotch

DVD RELEASE: September 18, 2008







Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017