FILM REVIEWS

 

 

The 11th Hour
Produced and Narrated by Leonardo diCaprio
Environmentalism is no longer the subject of a passionate few. Producer/narrator Leonardo diCaprio personalizes the greatest ecological disaster of our times in this sure-to-be-award-winning endeavor. Thematically, this film spotlights two key, yet mostly ignored, questions regarding the Global Warming crisis. Why are we not responding? And what are the forces preventing us from changing? 

Documentary-style interviews with a host of impressive heavy hitters on Global Warming are juxtaposed amidst dramatically-panned footage of Earth’s grandeur as well as its devastation. The 11th Hour scores major points for not only giving us the science and politics on the issue, but the oft avoided dimensions of morality and virtue. This added bonus shows up in poignant dialogue with Native American spiritualists and Eastern and Western philosophers.

The 11th Hour spins a compelling web dispelling the fallacy that humans are the proprietors of Nature. Pertaining not to Earth itself, the film’s title addresses life on the biosphere. Particularly vulnerable are we who are at the very top of the food chain, we who have blindly allowed consumerism to become our prevailing ideology.

An underlying point is illustrated here, “as within, so without.” Problems in our environment are symptoms of our culture. Disparaging outward conditions reflect our inner condition. Globally, we have disconnected from the wisdom of Earth. We have become desensitized to the wonders of life; hence, our disregard for the beauty and gifts of the natural world.

Far from being a doomsday film, however, we are shown real ways in which we can move from mass destruction to mass utilization. Speaking to humanity and with humility, we are asked to open our hearts, to increase our caring capacity. Start by loving the place you live. Paradoxically, the good news is that humans are the source of the problem. This means that we are equally adept as instruments for the solution.

A powerful wake-up call is sounded. The message is clear. There is a very real disintegration of life support on our planet. We do not have the luxury of time in which to languidly wait for a
“silver bullet.” What we do have though is the technology and resources to remedy Global Warming, which can be implemented by the agencies of principled leadership and personal action.

We live in an exciting time and belong to a pivotal generation, for it is us who have the unique opportunity to recreate the world!   The 11th Hour actually stands to become our finest.

Visit: www.11thhouraction.com for local showings.
Reviewed by Michele Geracoulis




Déjà Vu
Directed by Henry Jaglom
Produced and Film Commentary By Stephen Simon

In Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, one of the most underappreciated films ever in Spiritual Cinema, the central theme emphasizes our ability and desire to retain our memories of loving another person. If a relationship ended badly, or if the memories were just too painful, would we and should we erase that memory entirely if we were given such an opportunity to do so? Just hit “delete” as we would a document on a computer. If we did so, and we met that person anew, would we fall in love yet again? In essence, then, are our “soul mates” hardwired into our system so that any attempt to convince ourselves otherwise is the ultimate fool’s errand?

Henry Jaglom’s brilliant 1997 film DÉJÀ VU asks those kinds of questions and is that kind of love story. It challenges us to look at our belief systems in a very frank and some might feel challenging and even controversial way. At the core of the film, it holds up a mirror to all of us who are in a relationship and shines a very powerful light on the very underpinnings of that relationship.

What happens if you meet the person of your dreams, the one you’ve always known was out there somewhere, and that person is with someone else? And, to add an Olympic degree of difficulty, so are you. DÉJÀ VU posits just that question, and weaves it into a brilliantly conceived and deeply spiritual love story.

To delve too much into the plot of the intricately-woven screenplay would be unfair to those of you who might have missed this “hidden gem” of a film when it was theatrically released in the late 1990s. Therefore I will not get into a discussion of the storyline here, other than to say that the film pivots around a serendipitous meeting between a woman who is engaged to be married and a mysterious painter whom she meets. DÉJÀ VU is an adult film about adult issues that moves our heart and challenges our minds. The kind of film you want to see and then enjoy a long dinner of discussion and reflection. The kind of film “they don’t make anymore.” A classic in Spiritual Cinema and a hidden gem indeed.

Members of The Spiritual Cinema Circle are receiving DÉJÀ VU as part of the October 2007 DVD collection which also includes three outstanding short films.

For a limited time, new subscribers to The Circle can receive a free trial membership (for a nominal shipping fee) by visiting: www.spiritualcinemacircle.com or calling: (800) 556-0129.
Reviewed by Jill Mangino

 


Return to the September/October Index page