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.
Is your name a pretence?
By you, but who are you?
You are, aren’t you?
A distinctive scowl and careless attitude.
That is in you.
Why is your name so different?
Have you had enough of being yourself,
That you had to pretend?
Am I wrong?
Have I mistaken your character by appearances?
When I saw you as you are it was for the first time
Then I had enough already.
You call yourself 1980, but by many other names.
You are known as more and this we know well, so well, by your
Distinctive scowl and careless attitude
This blew me. 1980 is just a name, isn’t it?
You were more than
More than a scowl
More than careless
More than an attitude
You were saying,
“I come as a whist,
I was never the same again.
On a personal writing note, I am disappointed, upset, and even bewildered. At the time I did not see it, but my older film reviews were following a train of thought (not ideal), at GiveWay, and Transmission, both Christian magazines by the same publisher, Nutzworld, Challenge Weekly, Daystar, Kid’s Highway, Faces (Baptist), Anglican Taonga, Amazon.com (not as a contributor), and Beliefnet.com. Most of these were great opportunities for me in writing film reviews. Yet stringing a review together in a train of thought I realize is not as effective as holding the writing together. Live and learn as they say.
Stringing a piece together (perhaps that is one reason why freelance reporters are called stringers as it is quick and efficient and less expensive for the publisher) is good for getting one’s thoughts down, albeit in a coherent way, but not for publishing, ideally. From those thoughts, though, to create a better piece that holds together with one over arching view of the film.
Once this is mastered, in terms of the writing, I may cater my film writing towards the needs of the publisher, which may mean I have other ideas for different publishers, depending on their need, but the same approach to the writing. This may mean compromise is involved. However, in film writing, two ideas can be of the same worth. It depends on me if I go this far, because I may not want to go along with another publisher. Even so, the one idea one has in reviewing a film may be the most genuine, the truest impression. So, that is why I like to be genuine above all else.
At any time, the ideas, the point of view, and the writing, all comes down to the writer and what is going on with them. I think I am moving away from a stringer to someone holding the writing better together.
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.
My experience, but with a keen eye on what’s happening elsewhere. This picture makes a story…a story which is mine, which may be yours, maybe our lines meet, maybe they diverge. Maybe we will meet again some other way. Maybe the story will go around.