What's on? 21/10/16
It's received middling reviews, but My Scientology Movie at the Cameo cinema at least looks interesting. One of my favourite 'what-the-hell-is-this?' movies was The Sound of My Voice, the film that got me hooked on the genius of actress/writer Brit Marling. I will write about Marling another time, she's worth an article by herself. In case you're wondering, it's also a film about a cult, with two journalists trying to infiltrate and expose it. And while we're talking about this, Martha, Marcy, May, Marlene – the indie movie that helped launch the career of Elizabeth Olson – was about cults, brilliantly so. Both of these latter films are among my favourite films; weirdly they remind me of working for the British Council in Saudi Arabia.
The closest I ever came to joining a cult was working door-to-door in America for the Southwestern Company (they recruited students from university for summer work). We had a dance-ritual we had to perform every day. We had to cross a yellow line of thread, which was cut into pieces, and we made bracelets out of them to remind ourselves of our commitment. We had small handbooks full of mantras (I will persist until I succeed, I will persist until I succeed . . .). Another mantra was 'Who's next?', we were supposed to say it the moment we got a door slammed in our face. I woke up one time, at around four in the morning, bolt upright, and said 'Who's next?'
I also got passionate about Islam for a time. What's the difference between religion and a cult? No disrespect to Muslims (or Christians, or Jews, or whoever), but there are overlaps, of course there are – to some degree, cults are religions that haven't quite made it yet. But I think the secretiveness of cults makes them different, and fascinating, with that reputation of never letting you go (although there are religions that punish you for letting go). It felt a bit like that with my summer book-selling job that I wrote about last week. Maybe a cult doesn't have to be religious. And therefore, religions don't have to be like cults. Bolshevism was a kind of cult. Naziism too, to some degree (to others, just an excuse to bully and hurt people, and for others still, payback for a shit life – I wonder if we're headed back there? Donald anyone? Brexit?).
I digress. Louis Theroux has a documentary out, and it's received mixed reviews. It's a three-star documentary. But it's a three-star documentary about a cult.
I still haven't watched Girl on a Train. Do I go crazy and watch two films in one week? I will let you know next week . . .