Every religion is (officially or unofficially) associated with a city, right? Rome, Jerusalem, Mecca – you don’t have to think too long about visiting any of these before historical religious trappings begin to intrude on more mundane issues like ‘How do I get from the airport to the hotel’, and ‘Where can I find a local beer and some interesting culinary offerings’. Closer to home, the City of Angels has played host to one or two attempts to chart a new path to eternity while enriching the pockets of some holy folks more temporal apparel – as well as salving their deranged egos with a healing balm distilled from the adoration of transients, searchers and damaged souls chasing some explanation for their own dissonant realities.
Which makes Los Angeles the perfect place from which to explore the history of new religions and the people who gravitate to them. Monday (June 17) evening at 10:15 Cinefamily presents an encore showing of Sects, Cults and Mind Control Mix Night which combines material sourced from fictional theatrical portrayals, news programming and rare film & video clips shot by the cults themselves. As a collective experience the images and the spoken words (as well as the expressions and tonal inflections of those speaking them) combine to give us a fascinating look into the uniqueness and the commonalities of our attempt to find God, meaning in life, create some sort of human connection – or just surrender whatever time isn’t given over to making a living and staying marginally sane within our own family/social circles to someone willing to take our money and capacity for independent, critical thought in exchange for telling us what to do.
Wednesday (June 19) at 7:30PM the theme continues (and the LA connection grows even stronger) with ‘The Cinema of Scientology’. Beginning with two fascinating documentaries (Scientology: A Faith For Sale, 1967, and The Shrinking World of L. Ron Hubbard, 1968, both produced by the BBC’s Granada Television) that stand out both for their exploration of the subject matter and for being terrific examples of the editing and cinematography of documentary film making, and concluding with a panel discussion exploring ‘The Myth, Mystery and Pageantry of the Church of Scientology’s Efforts Across the Universe of Cinema’.
This has the makings of a fascinating week already.
For more information (location, times, cost, etc) contact Cinefamily at: http://www.cinefamily.org/films/sects-drugs-and-mind-control