The Left Eye of God

The Left Eye of God

Caodaism Travels From Vietnam to California

Streaming Video - 2014
Rate this:
Caodaists worship the left eye as an Asian synthesis of eastern and western traditions. In this film, they tell their stories of exile, anti-colonial struggle, and building immigrant congregations in California. Footage of rituals and temples, and archival images combine to provide a personal perspective on a largely unknown mystical tradition. Older religious leaders tell how this new faith emerged in colonial Saigon in the 1920s and was soon followed by one in four people in southern Vietnam. Incorporating European figures like Victor Hugo and Jeanne d'Arc, Caodaists tried to heal the wounds of colonialism, but suffered persecution from the French, the Diem government, and the communists. After 1975, new spirit mediums in California developed an innovative style of worship for a generation of followers facing the challenges of the American context and newly re-opened contact with religious centers in Vietnam. How independent can California congregations be from sacred authorities in the homeland? A more complete analysis of the changing worlds of Vietnamese Caodaists can be found in "Caodai exile and redemption : a vew Vietnamese religion's struggle for identity" in Religion and social justice for immigrants, Rutgers University Press 2006: p. 191-210, and in the Material religion journal article "Seeing syncretism as visual blasphemy : critical eyes on Caodai religious architecture" 2010 6(1). "(The left eye of God) is a brilliant exploration into an immigrant community from Vietnam ... an in-depth historical look at a Vietnamese cultural experience and its extensions to the United States ... As a premier ethno-historical film about Vietnam bearing weight on its cultural integrity, it beautifully traces an incipient, and yet spreading belief system - for the most part unknown in the West."--David Blundell, Ph. D., Associate Professor, UCLA. "I would certainly show this film in my Asian studies courses, and I would also recommend it to my colleagues in other departments (e.g. anthropology, Asian American studies)."--Shawn McHale, Director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies, and Associate Professor of History and International Affairs, The George Washington University. Related resources.
Publisher: [San Francisco, California, USA] : Kanopy Streaming, 2014.
Branch Call Number: Internet Access
Characteristics: 1 streaming online resource (1 video file, approximately 58 min.) :,digital, .flv file, sound
video file, MPEG-4, Flash


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at EPL

To Top