BWW Reviews: ROOTED IN PEACE Meets The Aquarian Conspiracy

(The 21st Annual Sedona International Film Festival, running from February 21st through March 1st, is featuring 160 documentaries, features, shorts, Academy Award nominees and specialty films. The following is one of a series of reviews of selected films from the Festival.)

In 1980, Marilyn Ferguson's The Aquarian Conspiracy hit the bookshelves, speaking of paradigm shifts and the interrelatedness of all things, and was hailed as the manifesto of the counterculture. Add to her work an endless list of mind bending resources for a new age that includes the works of Fritjof Capra, Gary Zukav, Wayne Dyer, and Deepak Chopra and films like What the Bleep!? Down the Rabbit Hole. In other words, the insatiable quest for peace and enlightenment, wrapped in the kumbaya lingo of the Aquarians, has been pretty well played out from the days of Norman Thomas to John and Yoko and beyond.

In 2015, however, Greg Reitman, the founder of Blue Water Entertainment and the One Tree Foundation, added his voice to the roster with the production of Rooted in Peace, a personal odyssey to answer these crucial questions: Why are we so crazy? Does pop culture teach us how to be violent? Is there a peace game? How do we transcend the collective trauma that we derive from our constant exposure to violence? Why is peace so difficult to achieve?

Mr. Reitman's quandary was triggered by a life-changing experience while he was in Israel and the first Gulf War (1990) occurred. Moved to tears and troubled by the insanity and casualties of war, he commenced on an exploration, armed with a bonsai tree, that took him to Hiroshima, interviews with the disciples of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and transcendental meditation, sing-alongs with Pete Seeger, Al Gore's inconvenient truths, and participation in the 2010 World March for Peace.

Rooted in Peace chronicles his journey and portrays the imagery of man's violent ways and technologies. (Dane Lawing's photography brilliantly captures the context and contrasts of Reitman's odyssey.) Along the way, he discovers the interconnectedness of his concerns with the challenges of nuclear proliferation, environmental degradation and the depletion of the rain forests, the food crisis. It's absolutely overwhelming how everything seems to be tied to together in the web of life! His angst almost destroys his relationship with his future wife. He must find his center.

Armed with his bonsai tree and a growing collection of new and profound insights about the possibility of inner peace through mindfulness and the expansion of the cortex, he accepts that the current pathway of society can be changed and that collective enlightenment is possible. There is hope.

Transcending to higher levels of consciousness, however, is not the end of Reitman's road. There is the body to take care of, and so, with a visit to the UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, he learns about the imperative of putting the body, the biological terrain, in order (and also that he is pre-diabetic).

In the end, the first step in the path to peace and to human transformation starts with the self and a holistic assault on all one's bad mental and physical habits. Reitman concludes that peace may be as simple as putting a tree in the ground and decides to change the world by planting trees. Good for Reitman that he walks his talk!

He groks the interdependence of all things, and in a moment of monumental inspiration, gets that "the tree is an extended part of the body" and that "we all must create the conditions conducive to life."

Reitman's choice is to live his learnings and to fulfill Gandhi's admonition that "You must be the change you wish to see in the world." His authenticity is what makes the film worth seeing!

Photo credit to Rooted in Peace


Applications Due July 7 for Scottsdales Community Arts Grant Program Photo
Applications Due July 7 for Scottsdale's Community Arts Grant Program

Scottsdale Arts is accepting applications for its Community Arts Grant Program, which provides funding to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Scottsdale and throughout the Valley for projects that serve the Scottsdale community.

Phoenix Art Museum And Center For Creative Photography Appoint New Photography Curator Photo
Phoenix Art Museum And Center For Creative Photography Appoint New Photography Curator

Phoenix Art Museum (PhxArt) and the University of Arizona Center for Creative Photography (CCP) have announced Emilia Mickevicius, PhD, as the newly appointed Norton Family Assistant Curator of Photography. Mickevicius will divide her time between the two institutions, working with CCP's world-renowned collections to curate exhibitions that will be presented in Phoenix Art Museum's Doris and John Norton Gallery for the Center for Creative Photography. She comes to PhxArt and CCP from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), where she has served as curatorial assistant in the photography department since 2019. Mickevicius begins her role on June 5, 2023.

Esteban Will Perform Summer Concerts at Sound Bites Grill Photo
Esteban Will Perform Summer Concerts at Sound Bites Grill

Renowned for his emotive performances and exemplary classical and flamenco guitar, the critically acclaimed Esteban will be performing multiple must-attend intimate concerts at Sound Bites Grill in Sedona this summer. 

Review: I CANT GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE at Chinese Theatre Photo
Review: I CAN'T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE at Chinese Theatre

Susan Morgan Cooper's documentary, I CAN’T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE, renders a candid and illuminating homage to one of the luminaries of The Great American Songbook ~ Jimmy McHugh. The film will be screened on June 27th at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, CA.

From This Author - Herbert Paine

Herb Paine ~ Herb has served as Senior Contributing Editor and lead reviewer for BWW's Phoenix Metro Region since 2014. He has been acclaimed as BEST THEATRE CRITIC by PHOENIX magazine&#... (read more about this author)


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