New Orleans The protracted negotiations about whether or not to allow your house to be a movie set are fascinating. They proceeded on two fundamental levels. One is the practical and usual calculation of risk versus rewards. The other is more subtle and involves whether you have lost your mind to even consider allowing any of this in the first place because it involves privacy and possessiveness about your own living space as well as simple things like whether or not your own home will be habitable for a week, and where should you and the dog actually sleep.
Interestingly, the promoters, like organizers everywhere in all kinds of endeavors, try to distract your basest concerns by luring you into the magic of movies. None of the operators ever made the case that this was a sacrifice for art’s sake, because it would have been ludicrous on its face and a bridge too far. On the other hand I found it fascinating as the negotiations came closer to fruition that one tactic to move us to the bottom line, especially as our feet started dragging was to share with us the Vimeo clips showing something called the “sizzle reel” and the “story boards.”
Having been raised in the country that spawned the Disney phenomena and unleashed the mouse people and others around the world along with the lands they lived in, most of our generation has a passing familiarity with story boards from the countless expositions of how sophisticated animation is done. Chasing Moksha was of course way more basic, if not rudimentary. It was helpful, but surprisingly static. A number of boards focused on startled or vacuous looks of the main character, presumably giving the actors more hints at what was intended. A number of boards involved driving in a car. I never noticed one that was set anywhere in a house, so in that sense it was fascinating but unfulfilling.
On the other hand I’d never heard of a “sizzle reel,” so that sounded like a key into a secret room of film fun. In fact now having seen one, I imagine it is mainly useful for sales pitches and establishing context. It was a mashup of various movie scenes that were thought to give people a sense of where Chasing Moksha would fall in filmography like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Napoleon Dynamite. I recognized a few clips, most of which gave the sense that the film would be about someone who is not only lost but inept with a wildly exaggerated and unrealistic sense of what he is capable of doing. I wouldn’t invest in the flick after seeing the sizzle reel, but I had a much better idea of what I was generally going to see in the film.
What sold me, if I could be so presumptuous as to say artistically, was the concept of “moksha.” Vinod Shetty of ACORN India explained to me on Skype that “moksha” was a Sanskrit word and concept that meant something like “freedom.” I liked that.
Wikipedia took “moksha” to another level.
In Indian religions and Indian philosophy, moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्षmokṣa)…means emancipation, liberation or release.In the soteriological and eschatological sense, it connotes freedom from …the cycle of death and rebirth. In the epistemological and psychological sense, moksha connotes freedom, self-realization and self-knowledge. In Hindu traditions, moksha is a central concept and included as one of the four aspects and goals of human life; the other three goals are dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life), and kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment).The concept of moksha is found In Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism.
I liked that even more, so they didn’t have me from hello, but I wasn’t far behind, because, frankly chasing freedom, liberation, knowledge, and the like sounds like a worthy mission. We could do our small part, Ferris and Napoleon Dynamite be damned.