I like films that inspire me; either emotionally or mentally. Films that help me to see the world differently. I notice as I write these reviews that I appreciate films which bring me to a place of wonder, films that leave me not knowing where the story is headed. Perhaps its my royal blue tendency. Here are some of the films that have done either inspired me, kept me guessing, or both, over the years.
This is a film that defies description. The story is almost impossible to follow, a self obsessed writer agonises over his creative block as he struggles to adapt a book for the screen. The book is about orchids, an uptight New York journalist interviews the orchid grower in Florida. People struggling in their own worlds, just as the orchid has to find its way to live. Adaptation. It is a story about need for growth and change, the need to open to life. The film moves towards one tiny step. You might hate it, you might love it. It meant a lot to me, the right movie at the right time.
I wrote an article on the Equilibrium B55 bottle – Clear / Red inspired by this film.
It is set in a small area of Los Angeles over a 24 hour period running up to Christmas during which time the film’s characters meet each other in a variety of different and often difficult ways. There is much suffering and yet also ultimately much learning through the ways that these suffering individuals are led towards some redemption. It is an intelligent movie that does not take the easy way, often I did not see the twists that came, and at the end of the movie I had to take time to review the storylines and see the story as a bigger interconnected whole. Very smart, emotionally demanding, the film closes with a literally uplifting shot.
If you wish to read my article on this film and the B55 visit here.
What the Bleep Do We Know?
I loved this film. Full of inspiring ideas it explores the world of quantum reality. The world of pure energy where spirit / intelligence / consciousness underlies all matter. As human beings where do we fit in to these realities. The film intertwines a story with interviews with experts who discuss the implications of the quantum world.
The film inspired me to write an article about Aura-Soma, the Quantum World and Creating Realities. You can read the article on my blog.
Or, you can buy the film here.
Who hasn’t seen this? It was breathtaking when it first came out, the special effects dazzled but the ideas behind the story were even more mind boggling. I always remember the line delivered by Morpheus to Keanu Reeves when he is winded during his first challenge in what is a virtual training space called The Construct. As Neo – Keanu Reeves struggles to get his breath back Morpheus asks “Do you think that is air that you are breathing?” (It can’t be as they are in a virtual space, a computer programme). And so the central premise of the film arises, what is real and what is illusion? The Matrix becomes a perfect modern metaphor for the age old duality between spirit and matter. Can we trust our senses? Or is the material body the trap? Neo wishes to wake up from the dream. He is the Christ figure in the movie. Indeed towards the end he dies and is reborn – rescued by Trinity (the Holy Spirit) in another reality. There is a whole article here waiting to be written. But for now, if you have not yet seen it, and you like edgy modern films , this is an absolute treat.
The Wizard of Oz
This film appears here in large part because of the way its themes tie in with the language of colour. As with the Matrix this subject deserves a whole article, but for now we can mention the yellow brick road (susumna), the red shoes (kundalini), the emerald city (the heart), as well as the general colourfulness of Oz as contrasted with the grey of Kansas where the film begins. It is a modern fable of leaving and returning. And lets not forget its most famous song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” with its blue birds of happiness. It is all here.
On top of all this it is a classic. A good story with some memorable scenes and great characters. You will find many of the films characters appear in the Inner Child Fairy tale tarot deck for example. This film occupies a place in our collective psyche, and for this it should be seen, especially when you have the eye for colour symbolism. An article on all this will follow in due course.
Another film that appears by virtue of the way it uses colour. David Bachelor writes about this film at length in his book Chromophobia. The brother and sister who are the two main characters of the film travel back in time to find themselves in the black and white world of 1950’s America. At first everything is perfect, there is abundance and security. Yet they begin to find the price for these comforts is freedom, and as they and the characters around them seek to become more free, more authentic to themselves, colour begins to seep into the film. Slowly at first, and then with increasing force, colour is the expression of awakening. And where colour appears, black and white can no longer hold sway. It is a great metaphor for those of us who work with colour and particularly Aura-Soma which encourages people to discover and honour their own colours.
Although I think the cleverness of the idea exceeds the emotional punch of the film, nevertheless this is a film that will give you another story, another strand, as to the worth and value of colour.
I’m Not There
I think Bob Dylan lives a turquoise energy. He was the trickster who captured the spirit of the time but was never defined by it, always managing to remain one step ahead, an enigma to those around him. He challenged everything but stood for nothing, which is itself part of the inherent tension between turquoise and red.
This film explores the life of Bob Dylan in a very original way – it uses 5 different actors to play out 5 of his different sides. Some of these sides overlapped in time. The film has a great soundtrack too. Though it is very long at near to 3 hours, I will admit even my interest was beginning to wander near the end, nevertheless when the film finished I felt inspired and enlivened. That is why I recommend it with the caveat that it definitely helps to have some respect for Bob Dylan to carry you through.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Superbly evocative, beautifully filmed and choreographed. This is a Chinese fairy tale type story with masterful warriors, unrequited loves, passions, twists of tragedy, honour and human failings, good and evil, even a precious sword. All set against a backdrop so unfamiliar to me, pre industrial china that it might have been a fairy tale.
I loved the music too, certain chinese instruments pull so strongly on the emotion, I even chose to listen to the original Mandarin and read the subtitles as I find the language too – in this film – very evocative. Great film.
The Devils Advocate
Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino star in this engrossing film. It does have elements of black magic and so has to be classed as a horror film. There are certainly some disturbing moments while underneath a pervading feeling of something nasty going on grows ever stronger.
But what I appreciated about the film was the suspense of not knowing what was happening, none of the characters were either wholly good or wholly bad. It was a film about ambivalence and the way that we get hooked in this world. In a sense the world itself is the devil, and temptation is everywhere. But then of course the world provides the space for the weakness in us to be exposed. A line form the movie that comes to my mind now is “God is an absentee landlord.” What can I say, the film made s strong impression when I saw it several years ago. Perhaps you will find it thought provoking.
When I am not being serious I like to laugh with heart warming stories: here are some films, some perhaps not so famous, that have done this for me
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Michael Caine and Steve Martin, two con men who challenge each other and meet their match. Full of twists and good natured humour, I saw it in Hong Kong almost 30 years ago, but I still remember how happy I was as I walked home from the cinema that night.
As Good As It Gets
More famous than the others perhaps, a beautiful, light comedy, full of charm and a lightness of touch that moves between comedy and some of the more real questions of getting involved as you get older with a deftness of touch in the hands of two Hollywood greats: Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton.
Something’s Gotta Give
This is another film in the line of As Good As It Gets, tougher at times, but also with moments of great comedy and ultimately equally uplifting. It too stars Jack Nicholson.
I walked into this film by chance at a multiplex. I had never heard of it. I was early for another movie and was simply wanting to pas some time while waiting. I sat down saying to myself “just for a few minutes - in 15 minutes I will be moving on to the film I am waiting to see”. I never walked out. After 5 minutes the other film had completely left my mind. This is a New York film, smart and intelligent, very Jewish, with a great story, and great characters. It was an unexpected treat I never regretted. Stars Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman.