MEETINGS WITH REMARKABLE MEN directed by Peter Brook is based on an autobiographical work by G. I. Gurdjieff (1866 – 1949) who was one of this century’s most famous and controversial explorers of perennial wisdom and esoteric philosophy. He was a great believer in the Socratic ideal of the examined life. Filmed in the mountain ranges and deserts of Afghanistan, this fascinating drama transports us to a strange and exotic world of spiritual adventurism.
One of the first remarkable men in Gurdjieff’s life is his father (Warren Mitchell), a bard who teaches him the importance of self-respect. Having been trained for both the priesthood and medicine, Gurdjieff (Dragan Maksimovic) is equally intrigued by sacred and scientific knowledge. An escape from death in a youthful prank further deepens his thirst for answers to the mysteries of life.
Gurdjieff and his friends come across some scrolls that indicate the existence of an ancient esoteric brotherhood. Determined to learn more about them and their secrets, he begins a quest which will take him from the vast stretches of the Gobi Desert to the snow fields of the Himalayas until he arrives at a monastery where devotion, dance, and esoteric knowledge all combine in a mysterious religion.
Meetings with Remarkable Men salutes Gurdjieff’s quest as a spiritual seeker animated by a real love of questions, openness, attention, and wonder. The teachers he meets along the way — including an ardent Russian prince (Terence Stamp) — share his yearning for a systematic overview of life and death.
Film Review by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat