By Diana Oestreich and Elliott Landy

UPLIFTING FILMS is a spiritual, but nonreligious evaluation, of both mainstream and independent films. We recommend movies that have a positive vision of life, leave you feeling good and contain little or no gratuitous violence, exploitative sex or other types of negative imagery. We talk about films that delight, inspire, educate and enlighten. We are primarily for positive films, not against negative ones. Our reviews come from the heart as well as the intellect, our criteria are compassion and love. We look for positive role models, important messages, humor, positive women's or children's points of view. Uplifting Films can be thought of as a guide to mind nutrition for film viewers.



(1994) Directed by Bernardo Bertolucci with Bridget Fonda, Chris Isaak, Keanu Reeves, Jo Champa.
The story of Buddha, intertwined with a parallel tale of a contemporary American boy identified as being the reincarnation of a Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader. The Siddhartha story is richly and beautifully recreated. The cultures of the East and West are brought together through the eyes of the ten-year-old boy and a young Indian girl, bringing together male and female energies. We gain insight into Buddhist principles, meditation and reincarnation. There is abundant love and wisdom in this inspirational film for all age groups. An adventure story of the spirit rather than the flesh.


(1995) Directed by Alfonso Arau with Anthony Quinn, Keanu Reeves and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon.
A beautifully filmed, written and acted love story, set in California just after World War II. Romance, destiny, family, and winemaking create the backdrop for this magnificently directed film by Alfonso Arau, who also directed Like Water for Chocolate. (Recommended on video) The romantic chemistry between Keanu Reeves and Aitana Sanchez-Gijon is captivating. Reeves plays an unusual man, gentle, considerate and loyal, with a healthy touch of innocence. Anthony Quinn nearly carries the film single-handedly and we are reminded of his significance as an actor.

The cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, has created a visually stunning film shot in a unique style which uses filtration to intensify and alter colors. A memorable visual experience. The message here, aside from the romance, is to trust what you want to do as being the right thing - if you follow your own way, you will realize your destiny and life will work out.


(1995) Directed by Daisy Von Scherler Mayer with Parker Posey.
An independent first feature by a woman director. Party Girl offers a 20-year-old's view of Generation X in New York City's East Village. Parker Posey plays a young woman growing out of the party girl persona, which had been thrust upon her during her teenage years. It is an intelligent, crazy comedy with beautiful statements about the confusion, friendship, pathos, problems and solutions of this generation.

If you are over 60, you will probably not relate, but it is a must see for teenagers, 20-somethings and their parents. This film is wonderfully uplifting and funny, with serious points about maturity, coming of age and finding yourself. "Life is a garden and we are all flowers." It has an excellent look despite its low budget. Posey is amazing as the young girl finding her way from ditzdom to responsibility and integrity. If she doesn't become a major film star it will be cinema's loss.


(1993) Directed by Agnieszka Holland with Kate Maberly.
Based on the children's classic by Francis Hodgeson Burnette, the author of The Little Princess (also highly recommended) A magical film about a strong-willed ten-year-old girl who goes to live with her uncle and cousin in the English countryside at the turn of the century. This independent, strong and delightful character impacts everyone around her and brings life and love to her young cousin.

Visually stunning and rewarding, the film shows how illness and faulty belief systems can be overcome by the power of love coupled with strength of character. It exalts the magic of nature, the power of love, and advances a "believe in your inner feelings" ethic. This film should be seen especially by young girls, but is a joy for all ages and can be watched by the whole family together. Several versions of The Secret Garden have been released on video. This one is with live actors and is not an animation.

Diana Oestreich and Elliott Landy are a husband and wife team with a lifelong passion for film and spirituality. Diana Oestreich is a film producer. She has developed film projects for many actors, directors and studios including Warner Bros., MGM, Paramount, HBO, CBS, Barbra Streisand, Christopher Reeve and Goldie Hawn. She is currently developing a feature film which focuses on zen buddhism.

Elliott Landy is a well known photographer whose images of Woodstock, Dylan, the Band, and the sixties music scene are known worldwide. He has published several photography books, and is a music filmmaker and producer. He is presently producing and developing a CD-ROM for Panasonic Software, Woodstock Vision, The Spirit of A Generation, which will be released in 1997. A9Landy Vision, Inc., P.O.B. 836, Woodstock, NY 12498.

Uplifting Films is on the Internet at: http://www.upliftingfilms.com .

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