The story of G.I. Gurdjieff and his travels to achieve enlightenment and inner growth. Beginning with his childhood, the movie follows his journeys through Central Asia as he discovers new levels of spirituality through music, dance and near-encounters with death. Written by
Jean-Marc Rocher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
When we die, Father, is nothing left?
[after a thoughtful pause]
How should I put it? Some people say they have a soul that goes on living when we are dead, but I don't believe this... and yet I am certain beyond all doubt that through certain experiences, we can develop a very fine substance within ourselves. When we die, this substamce does not die at the same time... much later.
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A major figure of world theater, Peter Brook made three notable motion pictures during the 1960s ("Moderato cantabile" in 1960, based on a novel by Marguerite Duras; in 1963, "Lord of the Flies", from William Golding's novel; and the highly praised filmization of his already acclaimed stage version of Peter Weiss' play, "Marat/Sade", in 1966). A project based on the biography of the spiritual teacher G.I. Gurdjieff, detailing his search for the information that would serve as base for the development of the so-called Fourth Way to enlightenment (a path that does not have a defined step-by-step itinerary, but that must be found and built by each individual), resulted in an interesting film that starts beautifully with a mysterious and fascinating sequence, illustrating a competition in the mountains in which the award is given to the musician that can make the mountains "react" in harmony to the music notes. Following Gurdjieff as he grows up and leaves his father's home, the film logically has the structure of a road movie, making his trip an entertaining voyage of ethnic, cultural and self-discovery (with a parade of solid actors in key roles). It becomes very disappointing as Gurdjieff lastly reaches the monastery of the Sarmoung Brotherhood, a place high in the Asian mountains where he is taken blindfolded, and where he supposedly obtained arcane knowledge from this secret society for his life project. Not that I as spectator was waiting for the revelation of the truth of all truths, but although it is known that his teachings dealt with movements and dance, neither did I expect to see on the screen a place that looks like a resort spa for Europeans who dance and chant like crazy (choreography preserved by scriptwriter Jeanne de Salzmann, Gurdjieff's deputy, who was around 90 years old when the film was made). Fortunately this is only during the last minutes of the film, and the rapture caused by the previous images is not badly ruined by this conclusion. Worth a look.
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