Now that’s what I’m talking about! Trolling the Utne Reader Tumblog from my own Tumblr dashboard I saw this interview with Tom Shadyac. Last week, through Facebook, I had received two passes to see a screening of “I AM: The Documentary” at Kendall Square in Cambridge, but I had been unable to attend. Featuring interviews with the likes of Howard Zinn and Desmond Tutu, this is likely to be anything but new agey and feelgood. But it is, you know, feelgood, because we are, interconnected, that is.
I think it is interesting that it has taken a personal disaster for Shadyac to have this epiphany. It reminds me of the many times I had been recommended to read Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart (2000), until I finally did. It’s powerful when bad things happen that give us a new purchase on the big picture, a renewed sense of purpose, and a larger family. But more importantly, uniting a hard-headed analysis with a soft-hearted approach is what I hope to accomplish in this blog, intermarrying the “elbow-and-knife” and bell jar people.
But it isn’t always thus. Sometimes, as in the similar but lesser-known documentary “Nobelity,” all it takes is the difficult questions posed by one’s own children. I do hope to see “I AM: The Documentary” some time in the near future, and hope to be inspired.
You wouldn’t expect the director who gave the world ridiculous films like Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and Bruce Almighty to make a new-agey documentary about the interconnectedness of all life—but that’s what has happened with I Am, Tom Shadyac’s earnest new feature. Shadyac had an awakening of sorts after suffering a concussion in a bike fall. Visiting progressive gurus such as Howard Zinn, Desmond Tutu, and Rumi interpreter Coleman Barks, he comes to realize that our sick, overconsuming society needs to reconnect with the natural world if it’s to survive. Punch line unnecessary.
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