Archives for August, 2011

Bipolar Disorder

Announcing a New YouTube Channel

I discussed the film "Limitless" in this earlier post, but in my new YouTube channel, I talk about bipolar disorder and use the film to illustrate the manic shift from hopeless problems to perfect answers.
Here's a link to the YouTube video about psychotherapy issues in bipolar disorder.

Photo by Marcel Oosterwijk, available under a Creative Commons attribution...
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Death and Dying

Exploring the Empty Nest in “The Kids Grow Up”

“Always the beautiful answer who asks a more beautiful question” ~ e.e. cummings

Like many good films, books or conversations, independent filmmaker Doug Block’s The Kids Grow Up can stimulate our own self-inquiry, leading us to ask ourselves questions about where we are with the topic presented. More than supplying answers, these kinds of works elicit personal examination, much as Block did in his excellent documentary, 51 Birch Street, examining his parents’ marriage.

In The Kids Grow Up, he provides an interesting road map of the terrain of one of mid-life’s milestones: when our kids leave home. One of the many questions this film poses is what our lives as parents are going to be like after this bittersweet passage.

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General

Exploring Three Stages of Romantic Love Through Three Films

One way of looking at romantic love is through these three stages:
-    Love without Knowledge
-    Knowledge without Love
-    Love with Knowledge
The first film we’ll look at in this context is Sleepless in Seattle (1993), a prime example of Love without Knowledge. This film does much to promote the myth of romantic love, as prevalent today as it was 20 years ago. In it, Annie (Meg Ryan) hears Sam (Tom Hanks), a caller on a late-night radio show, talking about his feelings about his deceased wife. Based on this, Annie goes on a quest to meet him, feeling like he might be The One.

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Envy and Jealousy

Exploring Relationship in “A Walk on the Moon”

Even though this film was made in 1999, and took place in 1969, many of the themes covered in A Walk on the Moon are still relevant for some women and some relationships today. Set in the 60’s, a time of change, this film poses questions of unlived lives, longing, sacrifice, duty, and choice. Our characters grieve for what cannot be, explore new territory, and experience initiations. Pearl (Diane Lane) is our heroine, and Marty (Liev Schreiber) is her husband. They got married when Marty got Pearl pregnant at 17.

Both of them have their share of unlived life. Teen-aged Marty’s boss at the time would have paid for his college education had he not impregnated Pearl. Marty’s dream was to be an engineer and instead he ended up working in a TV repair shop. Womens' dreams in this era were much more circumscribed, so that Pearl ended up with a nameless longing for something more out of life.

On their yearly summer vacation, at a Jewish camp in upstate New York, Pearl meets Walker, the “Blouse Man” (Viggo Mortensen), a hippie who comes to the camp selling women’s clothing and accessories. Right away, we see that there is chemistry between the Blouse Man and Pearl. We can see his diplomacy, sensitivity, and generosity in dealing with two ladies fighting over one blouse. We find out these qualities are genuine as we get to know him better.
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General

Container and Contained in “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter”

"My heart is a lonely hunter that hunts on a lonely hill” ~  Fiona Macleod

“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” (1968) is based on Carson McCullers’ novel of the same name, starring Alan Arkin as deaf-mute John Singer. His best and perhaps only friend is Spiros Antonapoulos, also a deaf-mute.

Due to his growing lack of impulse control because of mental illness, Spiros is institutionalized by his cousin/guardian. Singer moves to a town near the institution to be closer to his friend.

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General

Love Lost and Creativity at the Movies (Part II)

In Part I, I wrote about ideas of lost love and creativity; here are some film examples of these ideas.

Facing Windows (Italian, 2003): Giovanna finds her creative passion, becoming a pastry chef, after realizing that the neighbor she’s idealized and desired for so long is not the answer to her discontent and yearning.

500 Days of Summer (2009): Tom has been blocked creatively for years, writing Hallmark-type cards for a living instead of pursuing a career in architecture. After being jilted by his girlfriend, Summer, he falls into a long dark night of the soul, and emerges into a new creative state.

Under the Tuscan Sun (2003): Frances (Diane Lane) moves to Tuscany to recover from a sudden divorce. She is then disappointed by a love affair and finds meaning and satisfaction in remodeling an old dilapidated villa.
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