Hollywood Offers Hope and Redemption
Hollywood has always been synonymous with the glitz and glamour of the movie business, a kind of surreal wonderland where dreams come true and legends are created. Juxtaposed against this ideal is the dark side of Hollywood where people stumble from their paths to chase dangerous addictions in the side streets of L.A, their lives out of control. There have always been two sides to the story and each has been documented on celluloid, to inspire audiences, or perhaps unsettle them. Lately, Hollywood is venturing into the realms of spiritualism, proving that it can offer happiness, hope and redemption.
A Spiritual Trend
Hollywood has, in many quarters, been viewed as a rather ‘godless’ place in the past, according to the LA Times. The decadence of Hollywood stems back to the roaring 20s when studios were created and starlets were molded to suit the system. Media has always portrayed Tinsel Town as an immoral setting, where normality takes a back seat and feverish dreams and desires are born. It is also, however, the setting for a new breed of cinema: films of faith and redemption.
The LA Times claims the surge of on screen faith fiction is due to a number of factors, among them the economic crisis of recent years. Actors are also demanding more challenging roles, a factor which seems to complement the rise of spiritual Hollywood, buoyed on by notable award winning stars like Robert Duvall and Melissa Leo. The film Seven Days in Utopia, in independent golf based spiritual drama, had its funding granted by people with a strong faith belief. The success of The Blind Side (making $256 million in the U.S.) really launched an interest in Hollywood to create faith films that send messages of hope and inspiration to audiences around the world.
Cinema as Therapy
Films make us feel strong emotions and can be a cathartic process for a viewer. Anyone can watch movies and experience a conscious awareness of the story and characters and many films send messages of hope and redemption to their audience. Cinema therapy is a form of psychotherapy that encourages spiritual growth in an individual.
Films can also heal; Hollywood has a history of thought provoking film-making that pushes boundaries and tests the senses on many different levels. According to Cinematherapy.com, we can access our many layers of consciousness through film and this helps us to overcome certain obstacles in our lives, through a kind of ‘modern-day shamanism’.
Hollywood cinema can inspire people on a creative level and touch them in different ways. Sufferers of addiction, for example, relate to films such as Blow, Leaving Las Vegas and Crazy Heart through the themes that underpin these works. Film externalizes internal conflict and presents it on screen in a way that is accessible to an audience. A film exploring addiction will act as a cathartic experience and help people reflect on their own lives and problems, according to the Zurin Institute. Hollywood is reaching out and embracing difficult, life changing issues that affect people every day. Drug and alcohol addictions in particular are a major problem on a global scale, with withdrawal programs offered to try to eradicate these. Notable in the U.S are the Louisiana alcohol treatment programs, which offer a choice of 121 centers to address the escalating problem of addiction among young and old alike. Treatments are tailored to the illicit or prescription substance that sufferers crave and they are making a difference. Internationally, alcohol and drug addiction is also growing and gaining media attention, but with Hollywood addressing these serious issues in film, they are documented and remembered and their messages are reaching audiences everywhere.
Films can, therefore, become a healing process.
Hollywood’s Global Impact
Hollywood exports to the rest of the world, with diversity being supported through its independent releases, states the Cultural Policy Workshop Program. This diversity enables films to be made that tackle spiritual and moral themes, and these have an impact on global audiences. Micro-budget films are created by independent directors for miniscule budgets and these lead to innovative stories and themes being represented.
Hollywood, it seems, is entering a new dawn of cinema and, due to the success of features such as The Blind Side, the film-making center of the world is embracing diversity and offering audiences a cathartic, redemption rich experience on celluloid.