TQJ 4/2020

Helmut Oberlack



Already Free
Two Shoes Productions 2019, 54 min.,  

Movies in which Qigong appears are very rare. And films specifically about Qigong are even rarer. So it is all the more exciting that now we have such a film. „Already Free“ features Norberto Rodrigues from Portugal, and Dorrie van Roij-Houtappels originally from the Netherlands. Both, but for different reasons, found their way to Qigong. The film is not only about Qigong and the two personal stories, but also addresses the cultivation of life as a whole.

At the age of five, Norberto saw a Bruce Lee film that awoke in him a passion for martial arts and later also meditation. After suffering a severe spinal injury, he began a quest for healing and eventually discovered Yuan Tze.

When Dorrie was 17 her mother suffered a stroke. This experience brought an end to Dorrie’s sense of safety and security and started a period of anxiety, doubt and depression. It also launched her on a search for meaning which eventually led to Yuan Tze.

Dorrie and Norberto alternate in recounting their stories, including how they came to Ren Xue and to their present teacher. They reveal various experiences and personal changes resulting from their Qigong practice. They also express their desire to pass along their understanding in order to help others. They describe impressively how they could really open their heart and recognize and transform their patterns. Eventually, each reached a state of perfect connection with the ‘True Self’ and with everything in the universe – the experience of enlightenment. Both assert that what they have achieved is nothing special, but rather the most natural thing in the world. This naturalness and simplicity comes across convincingly as they tell their stories. We also hear from family members who describe the changes in Dorrie and Norberto from their own points of view.

Of course, their teacher Yuan Tze appears in the film. He learned martial arts and Qigong as a young boy. He began teaching Qigong at the age of 20 and became a member of the Chinese Qigong Science Research Association. In 2002 he emigrated to New Zealand. There he established Ren Xue (human learning), a system designed to improve health and more importantly to elevate all aspects of life. Yuan Tze impresses through his calm presence and his quiet, almost whispering voice. He appears clear and convincing as he states that achieving „enlightenment“ not only promotes the individual, but also the whole of humanity.

The film impresses with its calm and clarity. We see numerous sequences in which the two of them are doing Qigong. If would have been great if these sequences were even longer, because they were simply beautiful! At the end of the movie these sequences are really artistic: close-ups of the hands, arms and upper body, recorded in the studio with optimal illumination. Beautiful. I also liked the very economical and therefore effective background music.

Conclusion: an impressive and touching film that reminds us what is really essential in life – the unity and connectedness of all living beings and all things of this world.