Cult Video: Holy Smoke

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Whatchamacallit
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Cult Video: Holy Smoke

Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Mon Apr 06, 2009 5:14 am

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Smoke!

Holy Smoke! is a 1999 Australian drama film directed by Jane Campion, who co-wrote the screenplay with her sister Anna. It premiered at the Venice Film Festival and was shown at the New York Film Festival and the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival before being released theatrically.

Plot synopsis

During a trip to India, Ruth Barron has a spiritual awakening and embraces the teachings of a guru named Baba. Back home in the Sydney suburb of Sans Souci, her parents are appalled to learn their daughter now answers to the name Nazni and has no intention of returning. They concoct a tale about her father Gilbert having had a stroke and being on the verge of death, and her mother Miriam travels to India in hopes of convincing her to come home, with no success until she suffers a serious asthma attack. Ruth agrees to accompany her on her return flight.

Miriam arranges a reunion with Gilbert, who supposedly is recuperating in the Outback, and this charade lands Ruth in the clutches of P.J. Waters, an American exit counselor who deprograms members of religious cults. In a remote cabin, he isolates Ruth, separates her from her sari and religious props, challenges her faith in Baba, and slowly wears her down. As she begins to weaken, Waters finds himself sexually attracted to her, and in time Ruth allows him to seduce her. She then turns the tables on him, as she discovers her sexuality allows her to make mincemeat of his long-held beliefs as a macho, misogynist male.

sara
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Unread post by sara » Mon Apr 06, 2009 10:33 pm

I remember this - it was amazing, and I thought Kate Winslet was great in it. But I remember the exit counselor turns the tables back on her when he reminds her, in the middle of her complete domination of him, of the words "be kind" - and she realises, if I remember correctly, that this is the only thing that really matters; the trappings of the cult, stripped away by now, are entirely unimportant...

Whatchamacallit
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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Mon Apr 06, 2009 11:42 pm

I would like to watch it. I'm going to see if I can order a copy of it through Netflix and check it out. Just curious :D

Thanks for your comments about it.

joe sz
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Unread post by joe sz » Tue Apr 07, 2009 5:21 am

I recall when the campion sisters were researching for this film interviewing "exit counselors" in America. they retained Rick Ross for content--Harvey Keitel interviewed him and played the part. Also interviewed Tal Brooke for "baba" content based on his experience with Satya Sai Baba.
I first saw the film in Sydney just after release in 2000 with my cousin and niece who was 33. We were in a large theater with maybe 12 other people---Aussies were not happy with it for a host of reasons other than being a second rate film---one was the 2 dimensional mocking view of an Australian family.
I have a dvd of it because I collect this "genre."
Like The Piano [a much better film] Campion goes for surreal territory but seemed to bite off more than she could chew in this one. Winslett's was the only character with any real depth, I thought.
But see it anyway--I'm curious how others viewed it.

Whatchamacallit
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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Tue Apr 07, 2009 6:20 am

The Piano ?

I've not heard of that one.

When was that released ?

I'll have to look these up on Netflix. They have so many DVD's, they must have them.

sara
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Unread post by sara » Tue Apr 07, 2009 7:17 am

On reflection, it was Kate W who was amazing, rather than the film overall - as far as I remember, it did give a fairly superficial view of most of the issues - maybe she made it more powerful than it would otherwise have been. It would be interesting to see it again now.

I'm talking right now with a friend who's got totally into another New Energy/suspend critical thinking organisation, and I can just imagine that she would watch it and say, "That's nothing to do with me; CC isn't a cult"...

Caterpillar
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Unread post by Caterpillar » Tue Apr 07, 2009 1:47 pm

I saw Holy Smoke when it was released in 2000 before I even heard of RSE. I agree with Sara's opinion. From memory, it focused more on the relationship between Kate W and the exit counselor which turned sexual and manipulative.

Caterpillar

Whatchamacallit
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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:12 am

Well, I did order Holy Smoke from netflix, so at least I will watch it.

I also looked up The Piano. I found one movie by that title, so I assume it's the right one. But, in reading the description, I don't see what correlation there is to cults ??????????? Where's that Joe S ??? hehe

What's it about ?!?

joe sz
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Unread post by joe sz » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:18 am

no correlation with cults in The Piano. It's like a 19th century era piece about people coming to NZ as I recall.
Harvey Keitel and Jody Foster are in it though.

joe sz
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Unread post by joe sz » Wed Apr 08, 2009 3:40 am

OOPS, that was Holly Hunter not J Foster.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Piano

Whatchamacallit
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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:07 am

oh, okay. darn, i like jodie foster !

anyway, i'll order it. sit down with the fam and watch it.

we watched momma mia a few nights ago. what a hoot! all those ol' ABBA songs !!! i love ABBA's music, so now i will have to go buy the soundtrack.

there is a really good DVD movie that is about cults...someone on here recommended it quite a while back. it's a false preacher who travels...oh, gosh. i just don't recall the title, but it's a good one for anyone on here to see. the guy was a total fraud and they showed behind the scenes about how he got his info, and then "wowed" the audience with how he knew so much.

i know with jzr there are people who believe she listens, and/or has staff that listens to the phone calls there.

i went through a phase where i was looking into spy technology to see how easy it really IS for someone like jz to obtain and use such "security". i also recall not long before i left, a staff person talking from stage about how "yes" there is security cameras all over the property. it's amazing how tiny they actually are. not at all easy to see as one is wandering around the property.

sheesh, one can't even pee in the woods, in private !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! nevermind some of the other "activities" that have gone on during wine ceremonies.... thank god i never participated in any of that debauchery.

there are no secrets.

(okay, this post is all over the place)

Caterpillar
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Unread post by Caterpillar » Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:26 am

Whatcha, is that cult movie a true story or fictional? I tried to google it but haven't found it yet.

My partner is reading a book called Influence - the Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini. It explains the psychology of why people say 'yes' and how to apply these understandings - RSE...

Whatchamacallit
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Unread post by Whatchamacallit » Wed Apr 08, 2009 5:41 am

Cat,

I'm going to go look up my Netflix "history" and see if I can find the title.

OKay........I found it.

Leap of Faith
I strongly recommend it. If enough of us watch it, it would be a good thread for exploring.

Also,
The Devil Wears Prada
is another good one to watch for the cult-like control over people that can occur. Both of these were suggested to me due to the parallels to being in a place like RSE.

I'm glad I watched both of them.

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