Saturday, January 21, 2006

Around the Block on a Mindwalk


For three of the six years I lived in NYC, I was outrageously lucky enough to live at the corner of Houston St. and 6th Avenue in the West Village. About three doors down was the incomparable Film Forum, known as "New York's leading movie house for independent premieres and repertory programming." A great place to explore a movie genre (ie., Japanese cinema, movies made in 3-D, the films of Wim Wenders) and those zero-marketing-budget limited release independents that never make it beyond the Coasts.

I was reminded of this Film Forum era of my life by a recent cable broadcast of one of the more memorable movies I discovered there; one that had some very lasting influence in my life: Mindwalk, directed by Bernt Capra. The film is basically a long, philosophical conversation between three people -- a physicist (Liv Ullman), a politician (Sam Waterston) and a poet (John Heard) -- that encompasses the systems theory and "interconnectedness" philosophies of Fritjof Capra (Bernt's brother), author of The Turning Point and The Tao of Physics.

As the movie title suggests, this is heady, head stuff, yet completely accessible. Set on and around the gothic island-abbey of Mont St. Michel in France and infused with a hypnotic Philip Glass score, the mood and theme of the movie is introspective, far-reaching and subtly melancholy. But strangely, it just leaves you wanting more. More big ideas, more mind-bending metaphors, more hopeful solutions to humanity's misguided relationship with the earth.

For me, the movie was a gateway to the works of Fritjof Capra and the paradigm-shifting realization that quantum physics (which scared the stuffin' out of me) and metaphysics (my language of choice at the time) were, in fact, in complete and total accord. Mindwalk that!

This is the perfect movie to add to your Netflix queue, and if you're feeling hungry for more ideas about life, the universe and everything, make it a double feature with Erroll Morris' A Brief History of Time, also featuring a score by Philip Glass.

Thinking is fun!!

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