Saturday, August 1, 2009

When God shines his Other light

To those who are closest to Meher Baba, he says he takes everything away. But there are some that are just near enough who he shines a different light upon.

In 1967 the Dutch documentary filmmaker Louis van Gasteren filmed Baba in Meherazad, India. Baba came out of his seclusion for one day to wash lepers and Louis had made prior arrangements to be there with a small crew to film Baba on the event. With Louis were Joké Meerman (Louis' wife today), soundman Peter Brugman, and 23 year old camerman Jan de Bont.

I don't think many people know that this same Jan de Bont is today one of the top cinematographers in Hollywood, with cinematography credits like Basic Instinct, Die Hard, and Hunt for Red October. He has also directed some of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters like Speed and Twister.

Here's another story like that. In 1981 the Northern California Baba group decided to celebrate the golden anniversary of Baba's first trip to the West with a public event called "Love Comes West." At the time I was working at a small film studio in Mill Valley called Korty Films. Someone involved in the arrangements for the show must have seen me at a Baba meeting and asked me if I wouldn't mind printing up some small 'Don't Worry Be Happy' pictures for the event. I was helping in other aspects so I agreed to see what I could do. I got the idea to ask the 17 year old assistant in the photo lab if he would help me. He said he wouldn't mind staying after work with me to print them up if I would pay for beer and pizza. So that night, after work, we snuck over to the darkroom with our contraband. And we talked as he printed the photos. As the second photo or so appeared in the pan under his tweezers, Dave remarked how he liked the saying in the poster. He said he thought more people ought to learn to live by that simple concept. Anyway, that was David Fincher, director of The Game, Seven, Panic Room, Fight Club, and Benjamin Button.

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