Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979)
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The movie is more like a docudrama, about his travels from central asia to Egypt, and back to central Asia once again in a pursuit for knowledge about the purpose of life and existence, and the movie focuses on the time span between his teenage years back in Georgia to his early adulthood and the discovery of the secret place of the Sarmoung Brotherhood.
The movie was well produced, and its purpose was not to tell a story as much as to enlighten those who are willing to receive the knowledge, which is why I gave it a full score.
If enlightenment means anything, it means to "lighten up", but this bio-pic of Gurdjieff's coming of age is heavy and significant, reducing the life of a man of exuberance to ponderous banality. The characters walk zombie-like through their lines, never allowing any hint of joy in being alive and the stilted dialogue sounds like a cross between the spiritual kitsch of Lost Horizon and Star Wars. Filming this outstanding book, I'm afraid, requires a visionary who is able to convey its meaning with suggestion, poetry, and a touch of cinematic magic -- sadly lacking here.
One of the main points of Gurdjieff's philosophy is that most people are asleep. This film depicts the effort it takes to become, and to stay, awake.
My impression is that this is a film by someone who has studied what Gurdieff said about himself and his philosophy (Try 'All and Everything' if you want to get into the details of that), but not what others have said about him. The more you get to know what those who knew him said about him, the less likely you would be to present him in such a rosy light. Frankly, he comes across as a bit of a git who used some rather naive spiritual seekers to his own ends.
I enjoyed the movie, but see it as something of a positive skimming over Gurdjieff's early years.
This heightened consciousness had the same effects on the participants as on psychedelic drug takers except the latter lose their self-awareness. For me this spiritual aspect of the film clashed with 'Alf Garnet' whose popularity was manifest at the time of the film release
Gurjdieff traveled vast and wide and came upon religions which were in existence many thousands of years before Christ was born and which are thriving even now. His reflections on various religions as quoted from the book, In Search of the Miraculous, are as follows: "in India there was 'philosophy,' in Egypt 'theory,' and in present-day Persia, Mesopotamia, and Turkestan—'practice.'"
He found various religions which spoke about many paths but had similar milestones and all of these were markedly different from the religions of the west due to which the acceptability of his teachings is termed as 'occult'; more so because he openly treated the west with disdain. An example is available at this link- (http://www.bardic-press.com/fourthway/peters2.htm)
This movie tries to capture the essence of his initial search for the eternal question, "Who am I?".
It gets a 7 on the basis of the character of the story.
Acting is zombie-like. Trite, repetitive script has no dramatic highlights, with the only exception of a herd of camels roaming freely around the dunes. Some sequences are involuntarily hilarious or hard to believe.
All in all, there is more spirituality in the Star Wars saga than in the 108 min of this movie. "May the force be with you" has more punch in just one line that all the mumbo jumbo in MWRM.
It deserves 1, instead of zero (not available), thanks to the soundtrack -likely, the only redeeming quality- and for being good for a weekend nap.