Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979) Poster

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a rare film about an important religious figure
Ned Johnson23 June 2007
It is unusual to even see a film being made about this kind of subject matter. Gurdjieff is an important figure in the history of religion, and this film is interesting in that it not only has a performance by Terrance Stamp in it, but also the fact that the Sufi dancing in it is authentic, as far as I am aware. Also, as far as I am aware, this is the only time that anyone in the outside world has ever been allowed to observe this form of sacred dance that the Sufis have been using for thousands of years. Additionally, the meetings that he has with some of the individuals who are spiritually advanced are handled intelligently and realistically. A must for anyone on the spiritual path.
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One man's search for his truth
kmaclean5 August 2000
This is a movie for those seeking their truth. It is about a period in the life of Gurdjieff and his struggle (and obsession) to find himself. Investigating philosophy, religion, science, spirituality, he finally comes to a point (at the end of the movie) of being at peace with himself and on his path. I found it to be a remarkable film, and, at the end, inspiring and uplifting.
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lou.gottlieb23 May 2000
Not a movie for everybody. Hidden here, by Gurdjieff's greatest student, Mme.Jean de Salzmann, are real questions for people who find themselves, willy-nilly, searching. What is miraculous? How can a child be educated so as not to kill them (inside) by the age of 6? What is a real sacrifice? There are even glimpses of sacred dances, done by Gurdjieff's pupils after decades of practice. Not a "feel-good" movie, but a "feel more" movie.
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A Taste of The Experience That Forged A Remarkable Man!
Mohamed Fawzy20 July 2010
Meetings with Remarkable Men is the adaptation of part of the autobiography of George Gurdjieff, a mystic who lived between the 2nd half of the 19th century and the 1st half of the 20th century.

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.
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Lacks poetry and cinematic magic
Howard Schumann3 January 2005
Based on the autobiographical book of the same name, Peter Brooks' Meetings With Remarkable Men is the story of the early years of Russian philosopher and magician George Gurdjieff and the people that led him to become a spiritual seeker and an inspiration to devoted followers around the world. Filmed in the mountains and deserts of Afghanistan, a Russian Prince (Terrence Stamp) directs Gurdjieff (Dragan Maksimovic) and a group of seekers to search for the teachings of an ancient Russian brotherhood called the Sarmound. The adventure leads them through the Gobi Desert and the Himalayas to a monastery where Gurdjieff learns self-expression through dancing and body movement, a technique he taught his followers many years later.

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.
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It evokes aspiration for things other than mere food, drink, entertainment, sex and comfort. It proves the power of the soul.
alcyon-231 October 2006
We do not have the opportunity in our days to discover hidden powers within our soul which will enable us to have a worthy living, as real human beings. It means that there are other things, apart from the everyday cares, which start to be visible, if you really come to really understand the meaning of the movie and not superficially looking at it as movie entertainment or out of curiosity. Also, it makes us more open minded to understand and look the differences between people both in the way of life and personal characteristics. We usually dislike what we are not accustomed to, without paying attention to the fact that embracing differences in a positive way, we enlarge and enrich our soul.
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The Circle Game
Edgar Soberon Torchia16 December 2012
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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A struggle to stay awake
Peter Forster30 April 2002
I echo other reviewers in their description of this as a film for those who are spiritual seekers. Others will probably find it rather slow and dull.

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.
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Beautiful Film to see those sacred dances consciously executed
edmarsh-128 September 2005
It was never mentioned in the film that these dances were intended to prolong (momentary) Self-awareness in order to heighten consciousness of the dancers (not the spectators) 9 members of the Mevlevi whirling Dervishes performed similar exercises at speed moving on the lines depicted in Gurdjieff's enneagram with eyes closed at the same time as revolving without touching another. It is not generally known that a crop circle of this 9 pointed star appeared in a field in Cherhill Wiltshire UK on 17 July 1999, the centre of which illustrating the swirling spiral.

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
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Spiritual, Search for purpose of life, Fourth Way,
Vaga Bond13 October 2010
Warning: Spoilers
Story of a man who was not at peace in his current surroundings and his daily life; who wanted to find a higher purpose and took the decision to follow it without caring about his life.

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- (

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.
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A truly uncinematic experience!
J. E. Conde (jconde999)6 February 2009
I had big expectations about this film, but it turned out to be a huge disappointment. Ultimately, it is a boring, soporific movie that rambles around with no clear commitment to its subject matter. No light is shed on the early years of G. I. Gurdjieff and who are those remarkable men of the title and how he became a forceful religious and philosophical character.

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.
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A pathetic piece of unquestioning and gullible cinematic adulation of a very questionable figure in the history of pseudo-religious groups
haskellbob31 December 2006
I find it disconcerting that in an era when satisfying and fulfilling spirituality is unknown and we are all scattered across the whole spectrum of possible beliefs, that a charlatan and fraud of Gurdjieff's caliber (as a charlatan, he is exceptional; there is no denying he had a special gift. It's a pity he misused it, though, for the aggrandizement of his wounded ego, feeding on the adulation of unwary sheep who were at his beck and call and in awe of him) can inspire such extreme adherence and credulity. This movie presents an idealized version of Gurdjieff's own largely fictional and fantastic account of his formation and "awakening" (which I would rather describe as his discovery of how much he could sway the minds and wills of certain types of sadly disoriented people). See it, if you dare to have a disagreeable eye-opening about how sadly deprived we are of true religious leaders, to the extent that a clown like Gurdjieff could inspire such devotion - and be careful to have your blood pressure medicine at hand if you are one of those who still hope for a healthy religion to emerge from the ruins of Christianity, as a supreme example of cinematography at the entire service of the premises and pretenses of a dysfunctional cult.
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Meetings with an Unremarkable Film
pdodd-8983329 November 2016
I first saw the preview of the film in Santa Fe, 1979, having flown from London to so do, and to meet Mme de Hartman. I re-watched the film in November 2016; Mme de Hartmann was a remarkable woman, and this film is remarkable only for a)its dullness; the script is risible and ponderously 'worthy'; the acting is wooden,sets are stilted , and some of the backdrops look like wallpaper; Terence Stamp lisps; Athol Fugard sports an incongruous Boer accent.(The Movements section in the finale gives a taste of what might have been). and, b)the helpless and hopeless directing of Peter Brooks- contrasted to his other efforts-like the Mahabarata- suggest him to have been following and demonstrating one of the Gurdjieff Work Maxims' Man is Asleep'.
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Unintentionally hilarious
velutha114 October 2016
This is a beautifully shot and composed film that is made up mainly of set pieces of small vignettes and amazing central Asian scenery. The story itself is interesting to those who enjoy stories about spiritual searches. But the acting is so stiff and wooden as to be almost unwatchable and you can tell Mr Brook, the director, is primarily a theater director as each scene is so over-directed it's almost painful to witness. The main actor has a Russian accent that is distracting and also inconsistent with the actor who plays him as a younger man, and he doesn't even look "young" like Gurdjieff is supposed to be during this time period - he looks middle-aged. I understand followers of Gurdjieff may treat this film as almost a sacred document, showing his early life as he was on his way to his discoveries, but that doesn't make up for an otherwise forgettable film filled with forced set pieces that are almost unintentionally humorous to watch today.
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