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Posts Tagged ‘documentary’

I-Am-Movie2What would you want to say to the world if it became possible that you might soon die? That’s what movie director Tom Shadyac asked himself after he suffered a severe concussion in a bicycling accident. He was told the horrible after-effects could last for 2 years or for life. Or he could die. So he asked himself what he wanted to say in the event that should happen.

I’d never heard of Tom Shadyac, but recognized his movies when he discussed them in the beginning of this beautiful documentary. He directed Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, Bruce Almighty, The Nutty Professor and several other similar minded films. He realized that where he’d been with humor and outrageous silliness was not where he wanted to go. He had two questions and wanted to make a documentary … What’s wrong with our world? and What can we do about it?

This short, (1 hour 17 min.), documentary moved me to tears at times, as Shadyac explored these questions through interviews with some of the greatest minds of our times – authors, scientists, religious leaders, poets, and others. He interviews or shows clips of Howard Zinn, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama and other notables, including his own father who founded St. Jude’s Research Hospital for Children with Danny Thomas. The thread of the documentary follows how mankind has lost its way in our quest for winning and competition, but shows how we are literally wired in our DNA for cooperation and compassion. He shares how intuitively the animal world works together – birds flock, fish shoal (see photo) – for the greater good, and how less technologically developed societies work cooperatively with one another. FishShoal2In American Indian tribes where sharing was the norm, hoarding was seen as a sickness, and the members of the tribe set out to heal this person.

Shadyac has gathered so many amazing clips of everything you can imagine to bring us along on his journey of inquiry – history, science, spiritual thought, the natural world. Especially moving was one short clip of something I’d never before seen except in a still … a world famous black and white photo of a slender Chinese man blocking the way of army tanks in the 1989 student protest in Tiananmen Square. In this clip, you watch him move repeatedly to block the tank each time it maneuvers. Mankind has reached out endlessly to stand up for or help others in need, in tragedies such as 9/11, Katrina, Haiti, or events such as civil rights marches and so many other instances. As he explored these issues, Shadyac came to conclusions about his own life of celebrity excess and changed that, too.

He came to realize that `What is wrong with this world?’ has an answer … I Am.  But maybe I’m asking the wrong question, he thought. Perhaps I should also ask, `What is right with this world?’  Yup …. I Am.

Unless you are one of those people who believes whoever dies with the most toys wins – and I’m sure you would never have read this far if that were true – then I feel pretty confident that you will be inspired and moved by this film.

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