We should seek the truth without hesitation!
April 21, 2008 11:49 PM   Subscribe

Why do we spend so many precious hours of our lives watching films? What is it about cinema that it should occupy a place of such prominence in our lives? And why do we even need movies? It is as though we are trying to fill a gap in our lives - a void, an emptiness within ourselves. So to even begin on the path of our Truth Quest, we have to see the broader picture of how film correlates to life, and life to film. To find this higher perspective, it is helpful to look towards the other arts, as well as philosophy.
Cinema Seekers: Searching for truth in cinema and in life.

Above excerpt from Dies Irae.
The site is a little overwhelming. Here's a text only version. If the Web 1.0 design doesn't bother, I recommend starting with
The Honor Roll: 400 of the World's Greatest ART Films (from a spiritual perspective), a nice way to browse the essays on particular films and/or directors.
The Cinema Seekers, Gregory and Maria, are inspired by and draw their philosophy from the wisdom of Abd-ru-shin (Oskar Ernst Bernhardt), distilled in his book In the Light of Truth: The Grail Message. They've interpreted text from the book with a two-part (so far) series From Cinema to Life.
posted by carsonb (26 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Oh yeah, and mirrored here in case the main site starts to groan.
posted by carsonb at 11:55 PM on April 21, 2008

The Honor Roll makes me wish I still had, or could afford, Netflix. Thanks for this, really great.
posted by farishta at 1:02 AM on April 22, 2008

Also, I'm sad that The Holy Mountain didn't make the list.
posted by farishta at 1:07 AM on April 22, 2008

Funny, that first sentence is exactly why I hate watching movies. I feel that there are so many better uses of what little time I have.

And then I come post about it here.
posted by darksasami at 1:17 AM on April 22, 2008

I go because its entertaining and something to do on a friday night. No pretentious arguments here.
posted by monkeyJuice at 1:30 AM on April 22, 2008

Me too, darksasami. Oh well. Time to go... read more websites...
posted by blacklite at 1:41 AM on April 22, 2008

The real question, I think, is why are so many hours of precious film wasted watching lives?
posted by farishta at 1:47 AM on April 22, 2008 [2 favorites]

No Ang Lee's 'Hulk'? You mean I sat through three hours of cactus closeups for NOTHING?
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:30 AM on April 22, 2008

The real question, I think, is why are so many hours of precious film wasted watching lives?

Soviet Russia has problems with efficiency. Socialism, y'know.
posted by nasreddin at 3:58 AM on April 22, 2008

These people reference a lot of good movies, but I am afraid much better quality studies on such are available in abundance elsewhere. My problem is not with their Christian optic — I love Tarkovski! I love Bresson even more! — but with a general lack of rigour and an excessively auteurist approach. Let us say, for example, that a discussion of Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne that doesn't mention the film's screenwriter, Jean Cocteau, is, er, underdone.
posted by Wolof at 4:26 AM on April 22, 2008

It is as though we are trying to fill a gap in our lives.

I think this is trying too hard to find an explanation for something that doesn't need explaining.

We don't need movies. But we have evolved complex brains and nuanced social behaviours that leave us understanding and enjoying narratives; we watch movies for exactly the same reason that we read books and our ancestors listened to each others' stories around the cooking fire. The shocking truth: we watch them because we like to.
posted by standbythree at 5:42 AM on April 22, 2008

Short answer, if you're to busy to navigate around this site: we go to the movies because we want to read the Bible.
posted by kozad at 8:06 AM on April 22, 2008

Why do we spend so many precious hours of our lives watching films
  • reading books
  • posting on Metafilter
  • beating off
  • getting drunk
  • fighting with family
  • hating our jobs
  • talking on the phone
  • going to church
  • thinking about our best years passing us by
posted by psmealey at 8:17 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

I watch movies because for a few precious hours, I don't have to worry about anything. Yes, it is escapism. And there is nothing wrong with that.
posted by sandraregina at 8:39 AM on April 22, 2008

Why do we spend so many precious hours of our lives doing anything?

Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair!
posted by Aquaman at 8:55 AM on April 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Why do we spend so many precious hours of our lives doing anything?

It's all about story. Our minds are story machines. For a moment, broaden your idea of "story" to let it include most everything in our minds: education, religion, politics (and all lies in general), testimony, our ideas of the truth, the present, the future, and the past, how we feel, how we feel about how we feel - our search for the meaning of our lives is ultimately answered by story.

So it's not too surprising that so many spend so much time on movies. It's one of our favorite contemporary ways of telling stories.
posted by buzzv at 9:35 AM on April 22, 2008

Ohh, a list! Aren't we supposed to pile on like this?:

1. Streetcar Named Desire is waaay too far down.
2. Where the hell is Withnail & I?

Oh, and I haven't seen 390 of those -- I have children. Ask me about Spongebob, though.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:19 AM on April 22, 2008

Human beings as Storytellers. It explains a lot about how our mind has developed over time. Some say it might even explain music - and the other arts. In any case, it justifies my taking taxpayer money to teach literature to teenagers. Otherwise they'd be at the movies or immersed in a videogame storyline. At least I help them remember that language, not image, is our primary link to Story.
posted by kozad at 11:13 AM on April 22, 2008

Your favorite movie sucks.
posted by jquinby at 11:42 AM on April 22, 2008

Not enough David Lynch, not enough Terry Gilliam, not enough Errol Morris. No "Vanishing Point"? No "Easy Rider"? I could go on. A lot. It's an interesting list, but fundamentally snobby. Like American film makers haven't had a thought in their collective heads. As if!
posted by Carmody'sPrize at 12:01 PM on April 22, 2008

Think about it, since humans developed language we've been sitting in dark caves listening to someone tell stories by the flickering light of the fire.
posted by Pollomacho at 12:16 PM on April 22, 2008

I admire their dedication, but their website is a horror to look on. Are you sure this wasn't made in '93?

Also, yeah, Holy Mountain.

(Also, more Lynch? That's the last thing the world needs.)
posted by lumpenprole at 1:06 PM on April 22, 2008

I was going to post some thoughtful comment, full of insight into the many reasons that I spend as much of my life watching movies as I do. I'd like to say that I feel that film-makers, in some ways, have more control over us than a writer does, because it's their vision that we are presented with, our imaginations are pulled in, but in a different way from literature. And when all is said and done, we are still allowed to draw our own conclusions about what we actually watched.

But I think I'd just be bullshitting.

Most of the time I like watching movies because I enjoy seeing pretty people do interesting things. If there is comedy, it's that much better.
posted by quin at 1:56 PM on April 22, 2008

I watch movies because GTA IV isn't out yet and Fallout 3 is taking forever to get here.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:44 PM on April 22, 2008

There's a Steve Martin book called the Pleasure of My Company about a man whose mind isn't occupied enough by itself so he goes around trying to think of interesting ways to make his life more difficult. Most of the time he just takes everyday processes like crossing the street and creates strange new rules that he must follow while he does them; when he's focusing on what does and does not satisfy his rules, his mind is wholly occupied and he's not as frustrated or bored.

Well, I watch movies because I think that trying to make your life more difficult than it has to be is stupid, but I still need to something semi-complicated occupying my mind or else I'll go crazy. I don't watch movies because I'm seeking some sort of truth, I watch them because an active mind needs stimulus, and movies offer more stimulation than just about any art form. Unlike books or music or other traditional forms of art, you can get a story, visuals, and sounds all in one convenient package (and thus nitpick them all at once.)
posted by Kiablokirk at 4:26 PM on April 22, 2008

Here's an old question I asked about why going to the movies feels good. There were some great responses.
posted by tomcooke at 4:02 AM on April 23, 2008

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