This month, the film selections from Spiritual Cinema Circle will inspire you with the power of everyday magic. The feature film, Musical Chairs, is a romantic drama about two young New Yorkers who overcome physical challenges and celebrate the beauty of dance.
I’ve been a big fan of angel oracle cards for many years, and my collection includes quite a few Doreen Virtue decks. I just love their artwork and their messages, and I’ve found them to be amazingly accurate. I have clients who choose a card at the end of our sessions together, and the card usually either beautifully summarizes our session or offers guidance in moving forward. When my friends and their children come to my home, they always ask to choose a card or two.
These days, oracle cards are often available as an app for smart devices; the convenience is wonderful, but I must say, I believe the physical cards hold a special value and power.
Gandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
That statement has been moving through my mind for the past several weeks as I read comments on social media and hear so many people feeling helpless and disillusioned. It’s clear to me that we are living in a time of extreme opposites. There are people doing extraordinary work to bring peace and consciousness to the planet, while at the same time there are also people committed to war and violence.
The real question for me is “How do I want to respond and live?” I believe that we are either part of the problem or we are part of the solution. I also believe that our words have power and that what we put out in the universe eventually returns to us in some form.
So instead of being upset about the state of the world, I have decided to do something, and I would like you to join me.
As Spiritual Cinema Circle enters its ninth year, we have distributed more than 400 films, and the one element that they all have in common is a sense of hope. In the world of Spiritual Cinema, hope infuses every film that we have grown to love … and every film that we distribute.
We hope you’re enjoying our month-long Gaiam Hope Project as much as we are! The articles, videos, blog posts and reader stories so far have been truly inspiring, and we’re thrilled to be able to share them with you. But we also think you shouldn’t have to wait for us to post to get your daily dose of hope. That’s why we’ve created hope-themed wallpapers for your computer, iPhone, iPad and Facebook Timeline.
The Hunger Games is certainly the most frightening movie that I have ever seen … and, in a bizarre way, one of the most hopeful.
Even though it contains echoes of films such as 1984, Network and The Lord of The Flies, The Hunger Games is singularly unique in that it represents a very “right now” look at our celebrity-worshiping, violence-laden, reality-television culture, and it throws in some chilling warnings about the dangers of all-powerful government.
Having not read any of Suzanne Collins’ three books from which this film springs, my first impression upon hearing about the film’s central theme of a nationwide contest that pits 24 teenagers against each other in a fight to the death was ”Uh-oh, here we go again with the mindless violence…”
Although I am proud to be a voting member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, I have a conceptual issue with the notion of “Best” film, actor, etc. Art is way too subjective to be making objective distinctions. For me, it is simply impossible call one film or a performance “better” than another. Who, for instance, is to say that Mozart wrote “better” music than Chopin, or that Gauguin was a “better” painter than Van Gogh?
For these reasons (as well as the incredible personal politics surrounding nominations), I feel much more comfortable using the phrase “favorite film.”
Another criteria for this list is a simple question that I ask myself: Do I feel better about being human after having seen the movie? This personal qualifier is certainly not a part of the Academy voting rules, but it is an essential one for me.
While I respect others who praise the “craft” of slickly produced and directed films that illustrate how violent, cruel and/or awful we can be as human beings, I personally do not want to feel assaulted or depressed by a dramatic film. I acknowledge all the fear, cruelty and negativity in the world and need only read a newspaper or watch the news or any one of several documentaries to see that side of our humanity. For me to enjoy and recommend a narrative film, however, I want it to show that, despite all the challenges and frailties we have as human beings, we can also be a generous, compassionate species that consciously loves, forgives and embraces the wonder and magic of life itself.
Here are my favorite, life-affirming films of 2011:
As a parent and grandparent, I was very hesitant to watch Rabbit Hole because I knew that it focused on parents who were dealing with the death of their child. After much encouragement from my wife, Lauren, and one of our community members (Mark), and with the tragedy in Tucson in the background, we watched the film last night and were absolutely mesmerized.
I am honored and proud to be a voting member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that nominates and then votes each year for the Oscars.
To be honest, I have absolutely no idea how to judge a “best” film or actor or screenplay or anything else. To try to do so seems akin to going into the Louvre and picking out the “best” painting. So the Van Gogh is “better” than the Renoir or Gauguin or any other painting? Oh, please! I hope we get to a time when the Academy changes “Best” to “Favorite,” to more accurately define the process.
That being said, I always look forward to your responses to my personal favorites, and to seeing a list of your favorite films of 2010. Here are mine: