Conscious Cinema

Conscious Cinema

1. Harkins Valley Art – Tempe AZ, 32 weeks
2. Loews Cinemas – Seattle WA, 29 weeks
3. Loews Catalina – Tucson AZ, 28 weeks
4. Loews Beverly Center 13 – Los Angeles CA, 24 weeks
5. McMenamins Bagdad Theater – Portland OR, 18 weeks
6. Hollywood Theater – Portland OR, 18 weeks
7. La Paloma Theater – Encinitas CA, 18 weeks
8. UA Berkeley 7 – Berkeley CA, 17 weeks
9. Laemmle’s One Colorado Cinemas – Pasadena CA, 17 weeks
10.Cinema West Sebastopol Cinemas – Sebastopol CA, 17 weeks

No, these are not the stats for the most recent action flick or Hollywood mega-movie.  They are for a small independent film company’s documentary called “What the Bleep Do We Know”.  It’s a very basic look at metaphysics but even so, the popularity of this film reveals that the mainstream is embracing the rise of Conscious Cinema.

Perhaps it’s a reminder that Misery is not the only one who likes company.  Maybe Hope is having more people over lately?  Although we’re used to coming out of the theatre with popcorn kernels stuck in between our molars, violent images jamming up our synapses and numbness freezing up our emotions, we might just as easily get accustomed to inspiration flickering on the big screen.

Film is inherently powerful because it communicates on so many levels:  with visual images and symbols, with dark and light, with sound and silence, with words and music, with movement and stillness, with stories and poetry.  It’s the closest thing to virtual reality outside of a “holodeck” and it can be used for any purpose:  to spread information or propaganda, to educate or subjugate, to share new ideas or entrench old ones, to examine issues or obfuscate, to depress or inspire, to propagate or release emotion, to unite or to separate, to frighten or enlighten.  It can be a mundane medium or a powerful tool.  We have all seen how it can turn a stranger into a household name, a local scenario into a national disaster, a new idea into an ideology and a single hope into a world-wide crusade.

As the consciousness of our planet continues to evolve to higher and higher vibrations, our cinema cannot help but join us.  Despite the existence of a well-oiled and corporately controlled film industry in the Western World, many gems are popping up in North America and around the globe.  It’s a whisper of the upcoming supply of meaningful films that will come straight from the filmmakers’ hearts, and from the cosmic village’s collective desires.

So what classifies a film as “conscious cinema”?  Though subjectivity plays a part in the definition of “conscious”, the genre can be identified generally by the sense that the film’s intent is to contribute to humanity’s spiritual growth and that it wishes to remind us of what is True, Good and Beautiful within each of us.  Simply throwing something tasty onto the intellectual barbecue is not enough… Love and Inspiration must be in the recipe.

Love?  Don’t we have enough films about Love?  Maybe.  But it’s usually about Romantic Love (aka Eros).  Now it’s time to also tango with Agape:  aka Divine Love, Unconditional Love, Spiritual Love, Universal Love…

Films imbued with the spirit of Hope, Joy and Divine Love eh?  Is this simply another fairweather trend of the fickle Hollywood machine?  Is it just a temporary fix to ease our angst… perhaps a band-aid for the collective wound that we share whenever we look at the apparent pain in the world?  Or is it truly a reflection of a real change in consciousness that is happening on a planetary scale?

Perhaps the more appropriate question would be:  Do you have a hankering for some conscious cinema because your consciousness is changing?

For those who worry that we might soon run out of violent thrillers, horror flicks, sexploitation and reality TV…  Don’t worry, that will all be there.  We live in a world of contrast.  We can’t shave off the dark side of the moon because it’s not a separate piece.  So no, we won’t be faced with just a saccharine diet of feel-good, lovey-dovey movies.  For those cinephiles who love a ‘good villain’, they can rest easy because the gradient of so-called “good and evil” will be explored for ages to come.

Just like the film hero who is free to choose their destiny, we are equally free to choose our life experiences.  We can flip through the unlimited channels of the Universe and catch a tragedy or comedy… depending on the day’s mood.  As experimental cinematographers, we may choose the lightest of light or the darkest of dark.  We call the shots and select the images we imprint onto our cellular film.   And as we write, produce and direct our own dramas, we get to decide who stays in the picture.

– little woo, December 2004

You oughta be in pictures,
You’re wonderful to see,
You oughta be in pictures,
Oh what a hit you would be!
Your voice would thrill a nation,
Your face would be adored,
You’d make a great sensation
with wealth and fame your reward;
And if you should kiss the way you kiss,
When we’re alone,
You’d make ev’ry girl and man
A fan worshiping at your throne.
You oughta shine as brightly
As Jupiter and Mars;
You oughta be in pictures,
My star of stars.

– From the show “Ziegfield Follies Of 1934”

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