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Death At The Movies
Hollywood's Guide to the Hereafter
By Lyn and Tom Davis Genelli

Discussion Questions

Chapter 1: Between Two Worlds/Fantasy and Beyond

What factors made the American culture of the1930s and 40s so receptive to the "fantasy film" genre? How did these factors differ between those two decades?

Chapter 2: Film Blanc or Transit

What positive benefits accrued to the general public on the home front from the popular film blanc movies shown during the early 1940's War years?

Chapter 3: The Light and Dark Sides of Our Situation

What important lessons about human suffering are to be found in the movies It's a Wonderful Life and Dead of Night, both released immediately after World War II?

Chapter 4: A More Informed Vision

In what ways did the film Resurrection reflect new ideas and attitudes about death and dying in the American Culture? Who were some of the major writers generating those ideas?

Chapter 5: The Popcorn Bardo—Tibet Meets Suburbia

What are major signs in the movie Poltergeist that the Freeling family have entered the Bardo realm?

Chapter 6: The Bardo of Dying

When watching Jacob's Ladder, did you become aware that the events surrounding Jacob's death take place in real time—that Jacob's death occurs throughout he actual time of the movie? Were there any particular thoughts or feelings about this? What function, beyond the physical, did Louie, the chiropractor serve?

Chapter 7: Loves Labor Found

How does the movie Ghost show us that love is not the same as the object of love?

Chapter 8: The Bardo of Grief

What can be learned from Truly, Madly, Deeply about dealing with unresolved grief and sense of separation?

Chapter 9: The Corporate Bardo

What unfinished business does the movie Defending Your Life leave its lovers to face?

Chapter 10: Recurrence, Salvation, and the Bodhisattva Way

What are a few of the lessons to be learned from the total transformation of Phil Conners' (Bill Murray) personality in Groundhog Day?

Chapter 11: Guardian Angels At Work

Within all the movies discussed in the book, how many Guardian Angels appear? What is the function of a Guardian Angel?

Chapter 12: Sympathy for the Devil

Why do you think there is such a fascination with Vampires, especially with the young? If you could have an interview with a vampire, what would you ask?

Chapter 13: De Profundis

Like Jacob's Ladder, The Sixth Sense takes place in the actual time of the movie. We are witness to the shooting of Malcolm (Bruce Willis) and observe what he experiences in the time it takes him to die. How does this conceit empower the movie?

Chapter 14: Short Takes

Purgatory, The Others and Passengers are about people who don't know they are dead. Have you ever thought about how you would know if you were dead? Would you like to share your knowledge?

Chapter 15: The Bardo of Existence

Is Birth about reincarnation? How would you describe Anna's state of being at the end of the movie?

Chapter 16: Sentimental Journey on a Spiritual Path

How do you think the relationship of Marie and George will progress?

Chapter 17: Our-Next-to-All-Time Favorite

We believe Casablanca to be blessed with an element of the transcendent in its manifestation of the spirit of freedom. Agree or disagree?

Chapter 18: Our All-Time Favorite

We think that The Wizard of Oz tells us pretty much everything needed to navigate through the transit state and emerge into everyday enlightenment. Is that what happens to Dorothy?

Chapter 19: Ending Up at Suchness

What has Death at the Movies revealed to you about the state of Suchness?