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Death At The Movies
Hollywood's Guide to the Hereafter
By Lyn and Tom Davis Genelli
It's a Wonderful Life (1946), Resurrection (1980), Poltergeist (1982), Beetlejuice (1988), Ghost (1990), Groundhog Day (1993), and The Tree of Life (2011)—these are just a few of the influential movies in recent decades dealing with the afterlife. But beyond entertainment, do they mean anything? Authors Lyn and Tom Davis Genelli believe so.
Death at the Movies: Hollywood's Guide to the Hereafter explores how Hollywood, the western world's premiere creator and reflector of both our cultural dreams and our everyday reality, has both unconsciously and then, with the west's comprehensive assimilation of eastern religious/philosophical teachings, consciously conveyed the deepest truths about death and the beyond to a mass audience through motion pictures—truths which not only serve the common human evolution, but provide guidance for a strange, and often bewildering realm of reality—death.
The authors draw on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, Buddhism, and depth psychology to review some of the most spiritually powerful films ever made. Death is, say the authors, at once the most immediate locked door and the ultimate frontier, a staggering paradox that invites us to search for deeper understanding based upon a level of consciousness beyond thought.
The book begins with an introduction to the Tibetan Buddhist concept of the bardo, the twilight region between life, death, and beyond which they refer to as transit; and then artfully analyses 19 popular Hollywood films that deal with this state of being. Readers will never view Casablanca or The Wizard of Oz the same way again.
About the Authors
Tom Genelli, who holds a Ph.D. in psychology, has worked as an ABC film collection librarian, film producer/director and as an instructor in film production in addition to his main career as a psychotherapist.
Lyn Genelli, a licensed marriage and family therapist, began her career as a probation officer and then worked as a school psychologist, child and family therapist and workshop leader at Esalen Institute before opening up a private therapy practice with Tom. She is also the director of the Bay Area Institute for Integrative Body Psychotherapy. They have written and published articles dealing with the cross-fertilization of film and psychology and have also worked as broadcast film critics for the local City Arts Monthly, a popular arts magazine in the Bay Area.