HAPI Guide Summer 2017 - Page 40

CONSCIOUS CINEMA we engage in during one lifetime ultimately have impact on others, for better or worse, leaving an in- delible mark on who we are, our relationships with one another and the quality of existence we enjoy. Curiously, though, certain aspects of geography lend themselves especially well to films related to the subject of connectedness (or the seeming lack thereof). That’s particularly true of Los Angeles and its environs, which provides the backdrop for a number of pictures focused on this topic, illus- trating the presence of our inherent interrelated- ness or our quest to find it. These themes play out through the many entangled stories of personal connection found in such movies as “Grand Can- yon” (1991), “Magnolia” (1999), “Short Cuts” (1993) and “Crash” (2005). These films depict the humor, pathos, longing and inseparability that inevitably bind us to one another, whether we’re aware of it or not. Our craving for connection has become an increas- ingly significant cinematic theme, as seen in “Dis- connect” (2012), an offering featuring a series of intertwined stories much like those set in the City 40 | HAPI Guide of Angels. The primary difference, though, is that this release focuses on the seeming separation we’ve allowed to develop among us, ironically from a technology that was supposed to bring us closer together – the Internet. Through the film’s diverse story lines, however, we come to see how our perceived separation is, in fact, an illusion that has arisen because of our beliefs, notions that have fulfilled our expectations, no matter how es- sentially erroneous they might be. This theme gets taken a step further in “Anesthe- sia” (2015), another collection of entangled sto- ries involving characters in search of connection but who have become so embittered or disillu- sioned with the disjointed lives they’ve created that they’ve intentionally sought solace in various forms of distraction to deaden the pain and an- guish they feel. Through drugs, alcohol, extramar- ital affairs and self-inflicted abuse, the players in this film all seek to escape their circumstances, only to find that they ultimately can’t, that the path to happiness involves addressing what’s missing in their lives in the first place – a bona fide awareness