Within minutes of the start of the film my eyes were moist and they stayed that way for pretty much the entire film. I think this was partly to do with the fact that I feel as though, on some small level, I’m part of the story of the making of the film and so I shared Pete and Lily’s relief that the hardest part of the journey is over and the result of all their incredibly hard work is something so powerful and meaningful.
However, I think it had more to do with the fact that the energy in the room at the premier in Brighton was so emotionally charged. Pete and Lily were playing to their home crowd which was always going to mean a great atmosphere of excitement and expectation but I think what I and many others experienced that night went far beyond good vibes. I felt hunger and passion in the room, deep love for the way of life the film presents and desperation for the ideas the film explores to become widely embraced by our culture. This incredible energy was created by a shared experience of watching a powerful, resonant film and celebrating a young family who are walking the walk of conscious, radical, ecological living. It was created by the intentions and the bonds within the community of people who came together that night, all of whom are on one level or another working towards similar goals, changing the collective story our culture is acting out for the better.
Where did all that energy go afterwards? No doubt many of the audience went away uplifted and inspired to take action in one way or another, perhaps for the first time. I’m not dismissing the significance of this, but what I’m talking about is the almost revolutionary energy which was ignited that night. Of course that level of intensity cannot be constantly sustained, but how can it be capitalised on more meaningfully? It feels as though there’s a huge personal and cultural barriers to taking that next step, a step which on one level feels so natural and on yet another is so terrifying, to submit to the collective energy which can spark a real revolution.
Ultimately I have to accept that I can only really meaningfully talk about my own hunger and passion, my own love and desperation for things to change. I need to look at the ways I am sabotaging that process of change and growth in my own life. If the experience of watching the film with that wonderful group of people taught me anything it was an overdue reminder that I am prone to isolating myself and behaving like an outsider in my own community. Like me, I think anyone who watches the film with an open heart will come to appreciate some deeper truth about themselves – at least one deep truth, quite possibly a whole storm of them. However, the challenge in our culture of consumption and disposability (when so many of us spend far too much of our time as spectators and too little as spect-actors) is how do we keep our hearts open long after the closing credits have rolled?