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Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult compellingly explores mechanics of brainwashing and foregrounds survivors’ tales – Entertainment News , Firstpost

Over the course of 4 hour-long episodes, the docuseries delves into the trafficking and psychological and bodily abuse of ladies that occurred at NXIVM, not simply by the hands of its founder Keith Raniere, but in addition his most devoted acolytes, like Smallville actress Allison Mack.

NXIVM member and Smallville actress Allison Mack making a courtroom look. Still from Seduced: Inside the NXIVM cult

Seduced” is each an apt and odd alternative of title for the docuseries on American “self-help” cult NXIVM, presently streaming on Lionsgate Play.

Over the course of 4 hour-long episodes, the docuseries delves into the trafficking and psychological and bodily abuse of ladies that occurred at NXIVM, not simply by the hands of its founder Keith Raniere, but in addition his most devoted acolytes, like Smallville actress Allison Mack. Certainly, members had been “seduced” into becoming a member of NXIVM by the projected persona of Raniere, as additionally the promise of turning into higher, extra profitable variations of themselves, however as soon as lured in, they had been systematically brainwashed into giving up any management over their very own lives.

Specifically, it focuses on the story of India Oxenberg — the daughter of Dallas star Catherine Oxenberg — and her seven-year involvement with NXIVM, that started with attending one in every of their Executive Success Programmes (ESP) in 2011 and ended when Raniere and Mack had been arrested in 2018. During this time, India spent practically all her time doing unpaid work as a coach for NXIVM or in one of many many round the clock extra-curricular actions deemed obligatory for members, exhausted her whole inheritance on attending their “educational” programmes, turned a slave to Mack (who managed what number of energy she may eat in a day, despatched her on “seduction assignments” to Raniere, and even had her branded), and practically misplaced all contact with household and associates.

Seduced Inside the NXIVM Cult compellingly explores mechanics of brainwashing and foregrounds survivors stories

NXIVM founder Keith Raniere. Still from Seduced: Inside the NXIVM cult

India is an government producer on the sequence, which suggests not solely is she narrating her personal story but in addition reaching out to others who turned or had been a part of it, together with her mom Catherine (who went public along with her efforts to extricate her daughter from NXIVM’s clutches), professionals who helped her come to phrases with the expertise, different NXIVM members who spoke out. While India and Catherine’s accounts and people of different survivors offers the docuseries its narrative movement, the professional voices — which embody cult students, journalists and the prosecuting legal professional who investigated NXIVM and Raniere — present the context through which these occasions had been unfolding.

More illuminatingly, Raniere (who most popular to be addressed as “Vanguard” by NXIVM-ites) was apparently a person who beloved having his each utterance recorded, and there was all the time a digicam crew that adopted him round at NXIVM occasions and even in any other case. So there is a wealth of footage of Raniere hobnobbing with members, Raniere espousing his philosophy on stage or at school, Raniere being paid tribute to by his followers on his birthday, Raniere with the three girls who propped him up most: Nancy Salzman, with whom he arrange NXIVM; and the Seagram heiresses Sarah and Clare Bronfman who poured tons of of tens of millions of {dollars} into shopping for him credibility (amongst different issues, by arranging photo-ops with the Dalai Lama, suing critics, and currying favour with native authorities). There’s additionally a whole lot of Raniere with Allison Mack, who shortly rose up the ranks in NXIVM and was amongst a close-knit group of supporters who procured girls for her Vanguard.

Directed by Cecilia Peck, Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult is a reasonably by-the-numbers docuseries and there are few moments that stand out as being notably effectively made. Instead of aesthetic or artistic thrives, it merely foregrounds the survivors and provides them an opportunity to inform their tales. Its intentions are earnest, and Seduced is informative within the method through which it lays out the mechanics of a cult: How persons are initially drawn into this concept of bettering themselves and the world or by a way of discovering a neighborhood, the sorts of people that focused by cult leaders, how management is step by step prolonged over all areas of a member’s life, how they’re remoted from their associates and households or any semblance of a life exterior the group till the cult is all they’ve, how they’re steadily desensitised to their boundaries being violated repeatedly, how their ideas and personalities are made anew.

Seduced Inside the NXIVM Cult compellingly explores mechanics of brainwashing and foregrounds survivors stories

India Oxenberg. Still from Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult

What’s additionally fascinating is the sunshine through which it presents Raniere and NXIVM: different cult founders might have borrowed their concepts from philosophers, religious leaders and texts, however Raniere used a mixture of pseudoscience and self-help jargon mixed with the hallmarks of pyramid/multi-level advertising and marketing schemes that was fairly… progressive. He was much less progressive when it got here to his ends: he was a predator, rapist and pedophile, ravenous for energy, liable to mythologising himself, and enabled at each flip by his inside circle.

Raniere was sentenced to 120 years in jail for expenses together with intercourse trafficking, whereas his enablers like Allison Mack, Nancy Salzman, and the Bronfman sisters face anyplace between 20 to 40 years for his or her roles in NXIVM’s crimes. While this will likely appear as pleased an ending as potential given the circumstances, for survivors like India Oxenberg, restoration stays an extended and painful highway. The scars are each apparent — just like the ‘KR’ burnt into the pores and skin of their pelvis — and hidden. India, as an example, who was solely 19 when she joined NXIVM, needed to be eased into consuming common meals, into not having her each thought and motion pre-approved by her “masters”. She should cope with the guilt of practically bringing two different girls to the identical destiny as hers. But as Seduced exhibits, she and different survivors are intent on reclaiming their narrative, talking up for trafficking victims and for laws that penalises the type of coercive management they had been subjected to at NXIVM. After being instructed what they had been nugatory for therefore lengthy, they’re discovering out that they do certainly have — and have all the time had — value.

Seduced is streaming on Lionsgate Play.

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