Life of Pi & The Cinema of the Future

One of the running issues I have with my mentor GD is my resistance to his vision of cinema and television. He feels strongly that the entertainment of the future will be more and more rooted in higher consciousness. And I, with my nose closer to the current box-office numbers, audience metrics and television ratings points, feel he’s deluded from being around the tiny community of spiritual seekers. He doesn’t know about what mass audiences really want, I think, he’s just finding proof for his own beliefs.

But these days, I am beginning to think he may be right. And if you don’t believe me: see this stunning trailer for Cloud Atlas.

Watching the extended trailer of the Wachowski brothers’ ‘Cloud Atlas’ makes me wonder if the mainstream is broadening. With its massive cast, ‘Cloud Atlas’ feels like the ‘Love Actually’ of spiritual cinema. And the logline – about how one soul is shaped from a murderer into a savior and a single act of kindness ripples out for centuries to inspire a revolution – makes me want to hallelujah!On television today, American dramas like ‘Heroes’ and Kiefer Sutherland’s ‘Touch’ convey a message of interconnectedness. British reality shows like ‘Undercover Boss’ and ‘The Secret Millionaire’ connect us with the joy of pure giving. Weekdays at prime time, I watch a show called ‘Mentalist’ that uses the detective genre to talk about the unseen world.

Not that uplifting, paradigm-challenging themes were not around earlier – my all-time favorite remains Frank Capra’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ made in 1946 – but don’t they just seem to be coming back bigger and bigger every year? I guess it doesn’t get any bigger than James Cameron’s magical, eco-spiritual parable ‘Avatar’.

Then there’s ‘The Life of Pi’ by Ang Lee coming out in December. Stranded on his little boat with a Bengal tiger for 227 days after a shipwreck, young Pi wonders about profound questions: Is there a god? How can he be so unjust? Why is life and nature so random? Why am I here? Not the kind of answers you would expect out of a big studio film.

With such amazing films coming soon to a multiplex near me, I thought it would be wise to ask GD once again what is his vision for cinema of the future – and for the first time to hear him out without arguing!

“The new paradigm of cinema is about transcending the human self.” GD says. “In the old days, the closest movies could get to that was romantic love – not even soul-mates, just earth-mates. But now it is about connecting with the higher self. That translates on screen as unconditional love, oneness, service, living life fully, and seeing our life as maya, a temporary illusion. It has many expressions, but fundamentally it boils down to whether a film is supporting mass consciousness or transcending it. Without preaching or sermonizing, this new cinema will break all the ‘boxes’ and limitations we as a species have imposed on ourselves.”

It’s interesting that we are at a point in history when the biggest hit in Bollywood cinema is the comedy ‘Three Idiots’ which talks about breaking out of the social pressure of chasing success and listening to your inner voice. And the biggest hit worldwide is ‘Avatar’ which is about breaking out of human conditioning and listening to the timeless ancestral wisdom. Below is a chart with some of my favourite movies with spiritual themes – I avoided docus like ‘The Secret’ or ‘What the Bleep’ to show how much it is not a new age phenomenon anymore.

And now, if you will excuse me, I think I’ll go and complete that spiritual film script I had left unfinished! 🙂

9 thoughts on “Life of Pi & The Cinema of the Future

  1. Wow…would love to hear the script…Indian films still need a LOT of overhaul 🙂
    And to add to the list – Inner Child work films – The King’s Speech, Proof, The Blind Side, Rachel Getting Married
    Spiritual Partnership films – City of Angels, When a Man loves a woman
    Oneness & Interconnection – Unbreakable

    • Haha Deepti… thought Raju Hirani is one guy who gets it right every time. Thanks for the additions. I haven’t seen any of the Inner Child work films so I’ll add them to my must-see list too…

  2. Hi..managed to reach to this blog post coz of deepti’s blog…loved the freshness and momentum that this trailer brings in.good stuff.Manjiri.

  3. I loved the ‘Life of Pi’ and I helped to promote the book at an event in my library for ‘World Book Night’ last year. Seems like you and I have similar tastes. I like most of what you have on your list of spiritual films. The others I haven’t seen. I tried to read ‘Cloud Atlas’ when the book first came out and couldn’t quite get in to it. Now, after watching the trailer that you posted, I am giving it another go and can’t wait to see the movie. I like to read the book first! Funnily enough, whenever life starts to get me down and I think ‘What’s the point?’, I always get out my copy of the movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, just to remind myself. Love your blogs. Please listen to your mentor and finish that script!

    • Thanks Misty… Happy to find a kindred soul! Actually, Cloud Atlas eventually turned out to be quite a difficult film too. A bit disappointing… These days I am also enjoying documentaries more and more. Last week, I saw the documentary “Wake Up – The Movie” and it blew me away. Do see the trailer on YouTube and see if it resonates for you also…

      • Thanks very much for the link. Looks very interesting and I will definitely watch it sometime. I used to attend a meditation group and was told that I could be psychic beacuse I was able to make metal rods move when approaching and backing away from electricity (a bit like water divining with sticks) and I have had a couple of ‘out-of the-body’ experiences. As a result, I am quite open-minded about such things!
        Regards, Linda @Misty45L
        P.S. I am promoting E.H. Gombrich’s ‘Little History of the World’ this year for ‘World Book Night’, but I don’t think anyone will make a movie of that! LOL

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