Who’s who

The films directed by Peter Brook, a British theatre as well as film director, now in his nineties, are challenging to find for streaming or on demand in my vicinity. His first feature film was in 1953, The Beggar’s Opera, so its age may explain its evasiveness in the market. He followed this by several art house films which seemed quite fascinating as subjects, The Lord of the Flies the best known, which can be easily accessed where I am. The other film I can find of his is Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979). Not that I had been looking for Peter Brook films to watch, but I happened to read about the film first and thought it interesting and even relatable so looked him up and discovered more.

Arid looking?

Photo by Anne McCarthy on Pexels.com

The book Meetings with Remarkable Men was a record of travels, published in English in 1963. The author G.I. Gurdjieff was born in Alexandropol in the then Russian Empire. His father was Greek and his mother Armenian. The diverse place he lived in caused him to go wandering to find inner meaning and the hidden realities behind life, who seemed misguided in his answers. What is stunning in the film version, no joke, is the desert, even as desert is unlikely to be described as stunning, even as filmed in the arid, dry regions of rock, cavern, and craggy outdoors. Perhaps eye catching is the better word. What the desert did for me is located in my brain, as well as my eye. I sensed the search can feel like walking through a desert while seeking the oasis and the indoor scenes involved in-depth conversations that reveal the real desires behind the search, a stunning discourse in itself. I do not know if the book gave off such an atmosphere in reading it, but the film adaptation certainly gives off that effect.

Searching is evident right from the start of the film, as a young Gurdijieff (played by Mikica Dimitrijevic) is intently watching a ceremony in a valley that involves traditional musical instruments played by the local people who seem to be going through a ritual of a sort, as if the boy is looking because he needs to understand. At that point, the young Gurdijieff is taken by the hand and guided by an elder towards an unseen place, followed by separate scenes of obscure rituals and philosophical chatter with his elders, father, and peers. As his curiosity grows even more, the older Gurdijieff (Dragan Maksimovic) encounters Prince Lubovedsky (Terrence Stamp) who influences him on his journey in a brotherly way to discover truth. Gurdijieff eventually believes the answer he is looking is at the mysterious Sarmoung Brotherhood, perhaps this was a sect or a cult. He is accompanied by others on his journey, in some way, be that other curious seekers or those who believe in the cause. The final scenes are a tad uncomfortable because of their proximity to cult-like places, and the content of Gurdijieff’s ideas are unconvincing, but I found I connected with the journeying, and its arrival moved me, while my thoughts center on compassion for Gurdijieff who seemed misguided in his answers.


They’d say the time is high nigh for taking out books on end of the world scenarios but in the first months of the latest worldwide catastrophe that would have been unthinkable as people were wanting uplifting positive stories. And this is still the case in many places. I remember watching the Care Bears Movie during lockdown, one, because I was strangely curious, and two, it sounded quite a pleasant movie to watch during the time. I didn’t mind seeing those teddies spread their love and care around to those in need. It even had one of those ‘this is why he’s like this’ scenarios and the care bears tried to help him on that, as unlikely as this whole reason for being sort of thing might be for children’s movies, given it is something adults may understand more than kids, yet kids may learn something about being understanding….

A few weeks earlier I was called by a relative and gave my view on the pandemic in the ‘heat of the moment’, as I was trying to piece together a complicated jigsaw from various pieces of information, and wondered aloud if we were in the ‘end times’. It’s something that occurs to me often when a plague occurs, probably because the impression I get in times like these is built on what I hear and believe about out of control events. But as we moved out of lockdown I calmly realized life was getting back back to normal and I had feared what could have happened if we had been getting closer to the end in sudden fashion, due to perhaps paying attention to all those last times preachers.

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The fine line between security and discrimination is the facts apparently. I am walking out of a shop with a item in a bag. I’m stopped by the guard. He security checks me. Actually, he checks my receipt to see if I’ve purchased. I’m wearing casual. Do I they think I look like a “bum” who is going to steal something?

Was I singled out for wearing shorts at 10.00am on a Monday morning so I looked like the kind of person who would nick off with something? I must look dodgy.

So, I checked with the manager and was given a satisfactory answer. At this place they are doubly security conscious. It is actually their job to check receipts. This guy did. The only one who has in three years frequenting this shop.

Someone is doing their job on a quiet day.

But during a busy time it’s a pot luck kind of way to see if someone has purchased. Who do you choose?

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Grass is greener

I wonder what Harry and Meghan would have found if they had considered living in New Zealand twenty years ago?

Kiwi spirit is what pastor and baritone Rodney Macann talked about in my interview with him in 2000. Rodney Macann was, in 2000, leader of the ministry team Wellington Central Baptist. Later, he was the NZ Baptist national leader. As well, he was singing throughout New Zealand and Australia with the major Opera and concert organizations like the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the NBR Opera NZ.

Interviewer: What do you think is the mood of the New Zealand public, considering the economic downfall, distrust of the government, the ‘brain drain’ (New Zealanders heading overseas to live and work), and our Olympians not performing up to expectations.

Rodney: I think the public mood changes hugely and very, very quickly. For example, if we think about sport for the moment, people are a bit downhearted that we didn’t do so well. But my view of it is, is that we are a tiny country with very limited resources.

We’re naturally quite physically strong.

Interviewer: What do you mean physically strong?

Rodney: I think we grow up in a country that provides a very, very healthy environment. That could be changing because our figures are most probably skewed a wee bit by people who are getting overweight on junk food and this sort of thing. Kiwis, for the best part of the last century, have most probably healthier food and living conditions than most other parts of the world and this is shown in the physique of the average Kiwi, I think.

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