:I'm Fine, Thanks.
What an uplifting film to witness, a road trip of 10,000 miles in 43 days with five guys in one van to interview people who are living their dreams.The film does not necessarily focus on the immediate concerns of HOW they travelled (as in the docs like "Fat of the Land" and "YERT") or WHAT we buy (as in "Independent America: Mom and Pops in America" and "Affluenza") but the ambitious film poses the questions of: are we living our dreams, are we exclaiming that our lives are "fantastic" and in celebration and happy or are we simply saying to each other, "I'm fine, thanks."
Not only is it a road trip interviewing people who made decisions to follow their dreams (and their stories) but the film director himself, who narrates throughout the film, is himself a breaker of the rules of normality that we have to buy the house, have a wife and children and suck it up if you are not "happy." One day he exclaims how can he live with himself if he's telling his children to live their dreams yet all the while he hasn't been living his dream for the past 15 years, of being a filmmaker?
So the stage is set. He gathers a troup including a sound guy, camera operator, driver of the van and the producer as they hit the road. The editing is superb, the camera work and story line are excellent. The music is upbeat and inspirational and the feelings of the film are so much fun that it is totally contagious. The group of all guys are on fire and the people they interview are vulnerable, honest, ballsy, courageous and totally inspirational.
It reminds me of the early Voluntary Simplicity movement when films like "Affluenza," "Escape From Affluenza" and the "End of Suburbia" focused on the problem of overconsumption and some of the ingenious ways people were cutting back so they could do what they loved, have more time with their children and lead a less stressful life. Even the film "Laughology" emphasized the deadly disease called "seriousness" as well as the fact that many people have lost their laugh. Film director Albert Nerenberg decided to go on a similar journey to find his laugh once again. And then theres the film "Hungry For Change" where we have high profile people who have their own documentaries of their specific journeys toward losing weight, where health and fitness come together in one film to make the point about the need and accessibility for good organic and healthy food…
"I'm Fine, Thanks" is not political in any form whatsoever. Theres not even a hint about diets or sustainability or local food or GMOs or local beer or meditation. So, no politics, no new age, no spirituality - its all about ones dreams, and how people and their cool stories of how they made certain decisions along the way where the compelling impulse of playing out their dream was finally expressed.
We witness the life stories of people who walked away from high paying stressful careers or some who simply had ho hum lives and decided to get jolted into following their dreams. We see the couple who decided to sell their house and buy a school bus for $1500, turn it into a home with their 6 children and travel. Probably now they are on their way to South America for a life time of adventure. We witness the man who decided to become a lawyer (who was also a yoga teacher) because of the money. But after facing a near death hole in his gut, he decided to lease a dilapidated studio with the dream of turning it into a yoga studio. He signed a lease the day before 9/11 hit the towers in New York City.
We find the woman who fell in love with a tiny house and decided that that is what she really wants to do. The film turns its attention to a woman who started to gain weight and lost her appetite for excitement and her dream only to find herself back on the side of a speeding boat so she could once again experience her passion of water skiing with bare feet. The smile and laugh on her face are precious. Im sure that segment alone will inspire even the diehard rationalists in the theaters.
And of course theres more. Unlike the film "Happy," there are few interviews with experts or social scientists in this film. It's mostly all about the people, the reality dreamers.
No stories about foreclosed homes or Occupy as a movement to expose the 1% who control our lives, no talk about the green economy, not a word about the Pachamama Alliance with their workshops on Awakening from the Dreamer.
Nothing historical, political, no economic figures, no mention of poverty, the third world, nothing about the new emerging changes in systems of money like Time Bank, local currencies, Slow Money Teams, socially responsible investing (SRIs) or talk about the pioneering gift economy. No interviews with professionals analyzing the peoples dreams and no spiritual teachers talking about how we need to be happy regardless of our situation. Its all an internal transformation from people like you and me.
The film is just about meeting people who had a dream and knew they needed to pursue it or else. And the film is so successful because it is so refreshing, no movement about it (yet), no new magazines about it (like the mag called "Simple" that capitalized on the Simplicity movement [I just came upon the new issue at Whole Foods and found it to be more than a 1/4 inch thick, btw!]). Nor do they have protests against government or corporate leaders decrying the fascist take over of our dreams like the magazine "Adbusters" does so well. Nope, just ordinary people who decide to follow their bliss. And because it is so simple without all the agenda filled agendas, "I'm Fine, Thanks" will be a big hit and will inspire people to change because of those dreams that nudge us in the middle of the night. And then when their dreams start to unfold, the most passionate expressions emerge on their faces. And as one woman says at the end, "Im not just fine, Im fucking fantastic!" Warning: this film can change your life.
The film will be screened at the Templeton Center for Spiritual Living
on October 19th, 7pm, $10. Details
: http://hopedance.org/events/icalrepeat.detail/2012/09/12/140 Facebook
and also on Nov 29th in Petaluma at IONS: http://www.hopedance.org/events/icalrepeat.detail/2012/11/29/181 reviewed by Bob Banner