Film Review: “2012: Time for Change”
Opening This Weekend in NYC, Playing in LA again this week as well, it’s:
A Film that Will Change the World
by Sander Hicks
If I told you I just saw a great movie named “2012: Time for Change” you may think I’m talking about the 2009 Roland Emmerich disaster movie. That flashy flick was wildly successful at the box office, but it’s described as “cinematic waterboarding,” and worse, by most critics. So how did it make $567 million? Maybe it tapped into that nagging little voice we all have, which says that if we do not change how we live, we face planetary catastrophe, a global environmental meltdown, in full-color HD.
“2012: Time for Change” is different. It’s a lively, smart documentary that weaves a more hopeful vision from over 200 voices and visionaries. The film works as a kind of collaborative brainstorm: Yes, we are destroying the planet, with our patterns of consumption, competition, war and blindness. The Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and even now tornados in Brooklyn show that the Earth has just about run out of patience with us human beings.
Unlike the Emmerich movie, “2012: Time for Change” shows what a future could look like, at its best. It’s a vision that asserts that human creativity, scientific innovation and a new vision of spirituality are powerful forces creating a huge paradigm shift, here and now, taking us off the path of death, into new life.
The film’s patient on-camera host, the author Daniel Pinchbeck, lets us know that “apocalypse” doesn’t actually mean end-of-the-world “Battle of Armageddon,” but literally “an uncovering” (citing the Greek, Apokálypsis or “lifting of the veil.”) Pinchbeck was a NYC literary darling, well-known as a freelance journalist, and co-founder of the downtown literati journal Open City. But at a certain point not too long ago, he started fighting a deep emptiness in his soul. He
recalled and longed for the explosive, lively cosmic connections that psychedelics had delivered in his college days. He went on a quest, and recreated those experiences. It proved to be the door to a more fruitful consciousness, with two successful books, one a best-seller. His “2012” film shows the potential of a Westerner growing into someone beyond himself, through shamanistic rituals and sacred plants, in Africa and Central America.
This isn’t all about Pinchbeck. Former Police front-man Sting, it turns out, is also an advocate of sacred trips. In the film he describes drinking ayahuasca among the indigenous peoples of Central America. Sting describes a potent life-force pulsing through his nervous system. He looks down and recognizes a small flower as his brother as it grows in the cracks of the pavement.
Google doesn’t like the “2012: Time for Change” website. Some Puritan or DEA official somewhere has falsely accused it of “badware” an underhanded way to ruin a website you don’t like. In a similar way, Pinchbeck’s previous ability to report for outlets like the New York Times Magazine have dried up. Perhaps this is the product of our Western paranoia about drugs, and the harrowing higher consciousness they offer. Yes, this film takes a fearless look at psychedelics and
shamanism. But this is only one of many related issues the film draws to itself. It makes connections between Eastern spirituality, genius technologies in environmentalism, alternative energy, and even psychic powers, all discussed with candor and scientific analysis, straight from the experts.
The film is about dire warnings, but positive change. One theme that keeps coming up is that sure, many have revoked the license of legitimacy from the Judeo-Christian tradition. In an animated sequence, a big mission church lands like a ton of bricks onto the lives of the indigenous Maya. It seems that “2012: Time of Change’s” view is that Yoga, Transcendental Meditation, shamanism, etc. are a distinct part of elevating the world’s consciousness. “2012: Time for
Change” joins the postmodern Western mind in rejecting Christianity as oppressive and imperialistic. But unlike the world, this film holds that there are better spiritual traditions to explore–that spirituality is essential to saving the world.
After the film opened in a packed theatre in West Hollywood, a member of the audience asked about how this movement could connect to mainstream America, or subcultures like the Tea Party. Neither the panel nor audience could produce an answer. Maybe this is because the film has alienated potential spiritual allies. Instead of exploring
the similarities between sacred psychedelics and the radical Christianity, the film’s voices urge us to abandon hope that “Jesus is coming back.” This movement for elevated consciousness would be so much stronger if it interviewed a radical Christian who pointed out that the return of Jesus will be in the form of a distinct elevation of consciousness, not necessarily the physical return of the man. By not talking to any Christians, the film misses opportunities to
realize that two distinct parties may in fact be talking about the same thing.
In the end however, this fast-paced, polyphonous film works. It knows its audience and speaks with urgency fellow urban change agents. Everyone from the late Buckminster Fuller to actor Ellen Page make delightful, enlightening appearances. Page tells the story of her reconnecting to the Earth by shoveling goat shit after winning the Academy Award nomination for her role in Juno.
Daniel Pinchbeck’s evolver.net social network already has over 35,000 members and counting. A new form of revolution is already underway, while the clock counts down to 2012. If more people see this film, however, we will make 2012 the beginning of a new world.
“2012: Time for Change” NOW PLAYING in New York City at AMC Loews Village 7 10/15/2010 * 66 Third Ave, East Village
It’s opening its second week at the Laemmle Sunset, @ Sunset Blvd and Crescent Heights, in LA.
1hr 25 min – Documentary
Director: Joao G. Amorim
Cast: Daniel Pinchbeck, Sting, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Penny Livingston,
“2012 heralds the birth of a regenerative planetary culture where collaboration replaces competition, where exploration of psyche and spirit becomes the new cutting edge, replacing the sterile materialism that has pushed our world to the brink.”