I am a poet, once more lifted up to my calling— by a movie! A movie with Poetry at its heart –what hope enters me, to witness this rare phenomenon in the contemporary world. Kahlil Gibran’s poetry is portrayed in the film, The Prophet, as a treasured gift, even as an heroic character itself. I am grateful to have lived long enough to have some last vestiges of my youthful cynicism swept away, in the revelation of love and oneness shown in this simple yet complex story.
Adding a central story frame to one of the most popular collections of poetry ever published, in the movie the exiled poet, Mustafa, is both followed and assisted by a working class single mother and her mute troublemaking daughter. When Mustafa’s death is seen through by the child, the veil becomes transparent to the dreaming self within each viewer as well. In her brilliant directorial debut, Salma Hayek takes a cluster approach by putting various directors in charge of the eight poem segments of the story. Hayek says, “We wanted to make a film about freedom and unity and everybody connecting together. That’s why we picked animators who were so different from each other, from different parts of the world, with different belief systems, different ages, different styles. Every single animator who worked on one of the poems had complete creative freedom.”
That a woman Director made this film of Kahlil Gibran’s work her labor of love, makes an interesting parallel with another woman who silently supported Gibran. Mary Haskell financed Gibran’s artistic development, editing his English works and significantly affecting his writing.
Haskell was an educated, strong-willed and independent woman and an active champion of women’s liberation. Mary persuaded Gibran to refrain from translating his Arabic works to English and concentrate instead on writing in English directly. Mary’s collaboration and editing of his various English works polished Gibran’s work, most of which first underwent Mary’s editing before going to the publishers. She would spend hours with Gibran, going over his wording, correcting his mistakes and suggesting new ideas to his writings. She even attempted learning Arabic to gain a better grasp of Gibran’s language and his thoughts…The significance of Mary’s relationship with Gibran is revealed through her diaries, in which she recorded Gibran’s artistic development, their personal and intellectual conversations and his innermost thoughts for over seventeen years. (http://leb.net/gibran/)
Gibran himself summarized The Prophet to Mary Haskell, saying: “The whole Prophet is saying one thing: ‘you are far, far greater than you know — and all is well.”
As for me, experiencing The Prophet the movie helps me dissolve final remnants of all manner of ‘protective’ negative thinking from my past. I am reminded that what has sometimes seemed to give me security in the world is actually a constriction of my Source self. Being moved by this unusual film to cease living small, I affirm and claim my true nature, my true size. I had recently been asking to be reminded of my purpose this lifetime— Granted! I am a poet, once more lifted up to my calling.
Next post up: How Ricki and the Flash with Meryl Streep is like The Prophet. (Can you guess?)