Sunday, July 18, 2010

Films I have loved

"The stuff that dreams are made of."

I've been a writer, a composer, and an artist. But what comes back to me now is the visual sense. We are so closed there, and I see that as a third eye chakra issue, over and over again. How nice it would be to be to see things as they really are, instead of the way we would like them to be? This is what we need to balance our psychic-spiritual needs.

And to see not only bleakness, but, beauty. Humanity and Nature in all its colours. We are beings of light, and the play of light in a darkened cinema hall awakens us in so many ways.

We stayed for a while in a hotel in Tokyo when we moved there. There was a movie theater across from us. I already had snuck away from home a few times in London at age 2, and so, I snuck away from home, age 3, to see a movie. It was Captain Blood, the silent 1928 version with Douglas Fairbanks Sr, and I was hooked.

Hitchcock's 1956 movie, Rear Window, Mike Todd's 1958 Around the World in 80 Days, and Hammer Films 1959 Dracula, to thrill me. The 'toga movies' Ben Hur and The Fall of the Roman Empire, and El Cid, to inspire me. Chaplin, the Three Stooges, Laurel and Hardy, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin and others that made me laugh. And countless others I saw, with permission or not :)

At the military school I went to they had an outdoor auditorium that showed movies every Friday night! New releases that didn't have the heavy handed Pakistani censorship all over it. Every Friday night, except when I was in detention, which happened all too frequently due to an unfortunate disciplinary problem of talking back, and not doing my homework (because I was too busy reading books from the library) Mostly British movies but also the old American classics. Wow.

Then we got a TV set, and I've watched every Academy Award since 1968.

Then we came to Canada and I REALLY started watching movies. My first job offer? Working in a porn cinema which I didn't take due to anticipatory legalities, alas :(

But yes, I watched films since I was three and seen thousands since. I even have over six hundred DVD titles. But I can't give you a list of all my favourites, and even a 10 best or whatever. But still, here's a list of just some of the movies I have loved.

  • To Kill A Mockingbird: great characters, great actors, great movie

  • Night of the Generals and Lord Jim: with the great Irish actor Peter O' Toole.

  • Lawrence of Arabia: A sweeping movie never matched since.

  • The Longest Day: the many stories of war that culminate on D-Day.

  • The Servant: Dirk Bogarde, evil butler.

  • Avatar: In Imax 3-D, an earth as a living energy.

  • Gone With The Wind: A great movie made even more enjoyable by reading the novel first.

  • The Musicals: Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Chorus, Hello, Dolly!

  • Chariots of Fire: The runners, the music, and a man who runs to celebrate God.

  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: Everything I love about the Chinese culture, and film.

  • Dirty Dancing: Dance AND Music, Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, a chemistry that lights up the screen!

  • The Deer Hunter: The music score alone was amazing, the great anti-war movie.

  • The Mists of Avalon: I loved the novel, and the movie transcended it. The energy glowed.

  • The Lord of the Rings trilogy: Wow!

  • Once: A charming little movie, with ordinary artists making extraordinary music together.

  • The Red Violin: Chloe's a sucker for strings. Me, too. The violin's a character in the movie too.

  • Zombie movies: Shaun of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead. Gebbriel's a sucker for Zombie movies. Me, too. More so than Vampire or Werewolf movies. Go figure.

  • Movies about composers: Impromptu, Chopin; Immortal Beloved, Beethoven; Amadeus, Mozart; Tous les Matins du Monde, Marais. And any movie with a score by Ennio Morricone automatically gets added to my list.

  • Mad Hot Ballroom: too many documentaries to list; well, Up the Yangtze and Man on a Wire comes to mind, but this little charmer about inner school kids whose teacher starts the first ballroom dancing class in New York City schools and teaches them self-esteem.

  • Cinderella Man: Because I was in it, and I showed up in the movie poster (sorta)

  • Star Wars: Spaceships, interplanetary wars, yeah!

  • Y tu Mama Tambien: Two horny teens grow up. If there's a language I just love the sound of, it's Spanish. But the road trip through Mexico was beautiful too.

  • The Motorcycle Diaries: Road trip through South America, Che Guevara, Spanish.

  • Slum Dog Millionaire/Monsoon Wedding: All the intense colours I remember from India. Jai ho!

  • Amelie: A little girl sets out to make other people happy, and it's in Paris, though then you'll have to see the director Jean-Pierre Jeunet's OTHER movie, Delicatessen, about a deli that er, eats the rich and unpleasant :)

So yes, I love movies. I love them because like all good art, they can actually raise people's awareness to a higher level. I love them because the combination of sound, and light in a dark theater has an effect that reaches us at the level of our souls. And I loved them, and wanted to make one myself.

When I wrote Man From Atlan I saw the book as a movie unfolding before my eyes; I heard the dialogue and the music of the spheres, and I knew that the book could reach one audience, and a movie based on the book, another, larger one.

I knew nothing about making movies, just what it would look like. So I went to Hollywood and an agent wanted me to play an Indian palmist "if you could do it with a funny accent" :( Damn, I could have got my Union card. And all the studios said the book would have to be published first and that's how I published the book myself, and if that didn't help me get anywhere in Hollywood, it helped me get started on my healing practice, and one door closed, and another opened.

So even though I did go back to Los Angeles again, and had ONE actual chance, even then I knew it just wasn't where I should be focusing at that point in time.

Los Angeles was the best place for me, for a while. But even if I helped the lead singer for Earth Wind and Fire who somehow wasn't able to connect me with Michael Jackson or lived up the road from Stephen Spielberg or healed Denzel Washington's children's nanny's grandson :) or cured Mel Gibson's producer's diabetes it just wasn't right anymore (I know, the name dropping is sooo Hollywood:) Even a Canadian producer who really liked it said "it'll be too expensive". No it won't because it won't have the special effects that ruin every movie. It'll be simple, on a human level.

But that is by the bye. There was a time when I realized I already had done everything I wanted. Had the school, the healing center, the students and passed on my knowledge. All the spiritual events have been set in motion, and now it's not up to me to look for people, but people who are looking for me, will find me.

Yes there are movies to see and still enjoy, and even, perhaps, to make. But what I wanted to share with you today is my love of film, and if it is in you to make a film yourself, then, do so.

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