Wednesday, January 23, 2013

"American Mystic" traces the rural spiritual practice of three young adults

American Mystic” (2010, 80 min), a film by Alex Mar, traces the lives of three young adults who join (not completely by choice) simple rural and mystical communities.
Kublai, an African-American, was born near Rochester NY and lives on a communal farm on the Lake Ontario plain in upstate New York.  He does wonder why he works hard at manual labor, bailing hay, but makes little; but money isn’t necessary in seeking God.  He says “see what you can get not just for yourself but for other people in your circle”.  Toward the end of the film, he is hypnotized.  I can remember experimenting with hypnosis in the dorm at the University of Kansas in the mid 1960s.  He also talks about telepathy, which I think I have experienced (as when a friend tweets what I have been thinking but haven’t yet posted). 

Toward the end, Kublai attends a “Dale Assembly” retreat.

Chuck, a native American, practices spirituality in various locations in the Badlands and Black Hills.  He helps build a “sweat lodge” (which can be dangerous if misused).  But he has a regular job in a repair shop in Rapid City, with a wife and child. 

Morpheus, raised in the Bay Area, says she was driven to spirituality after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, which the film shows clips of.  She meets a boyfriend (husband?) Shannon living in the open country in northern California, not so far from Mt. Shasta,  which is a center of spiritualism (centered around Lemurian legends  -- see review of “Beyond Lemuria: The Shaver Mystery” here on Feb. 29, 2012).  Morpheus ultimately takes up "witchcraft", which means only, "You create your own reality."
The film has spectacular scenery of the Badlands and Black Hills area, as well as northern California.  I wish I could have seen it on a big screen.  I’ve been in the Black Hills and Badlands twice, in 1974 and 1998.  I remember the drug store in Wall, SD.  For some reason, my own mother did not like the Black Hills – an odd memory.  My parents were on vacation there in 1941 or so when it snowed on June 20. A family movie reel of the storm has been lost (unless I can still find it somewhere in the estate).

The official site for the film is here.   The film (Empire 8) is distributed by Kino Lorber and Tribeca Film. 

Some of the film reminds me of the Twin Oaks intentional community near Louisa, VA (Issues blog, April 7, 2012), although that community is secular.  I also reminds me of the Lama Foundation north of Taos, NM, which I visited in 1980 and 1984 ("spring work camp"), and which recovered from a 1996 wildfire.  
Wikipedia attribution link for Black Hills Picture  

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