Meetings with Remarkable Men (1979) Movie Script

Once every 20 years
we Ashokhs meet here
to test the power of our art.
This valley is unique.
Only a sound
of special quality
will make its stones vibrate.
He who can produce this sound
will be the winner.
Where does an Ashokh
learn to play?
From his father.
And he, where did he learn?
From his father.
And so on back.
How far back?
Back to God.
And where is God just now?
God, just now,
is in Sarykamich.
And what is God doing there?
He is making double ladders.
On the tops of them,
he is fixing happiness.
And why is God doing that?
So that people and nations
can go up and down.
So your family wants you
to become a priest.
Yes, but I am interested in science.
Then, study medicine as well.
Body and soul
depend on one another.
Become yourself.
Then God and the devil
don't matter.
Pick it up.
The earth is too small
for both of us.
- One of us must die.
- You are right.
They must fight a duel.
Yes, a duel!
What with?
It is difficult
to find pistols,
but it is easy to find canons.
One of you must die.
In a duel with canons
both of you might die.
If you take the risk
it's the easiest thing
in the world.
If you're killed, we'll say
you went to collect copper and lead
and didn't know
they'd be firing today.
Come on! Hurry! Get down!
He's breathing!
Quick, pick him up!
Mind his leg.
Did you think you were going to die?
Were you afraid?
What did you feel?
What is it like
not to be here anymore?
When we die, Father,
is nothing left?
How shall I put it?
Some people say
we have a soul
that goes on living
when we are dead.
But I
don't believe this.
And yet I am certain
there is no doubt
that through certain experiences
we can develop
a very fine substance in ourselves.
When we die
this substance does not die
at the same time,
but much later.
-What is it?
- It's a Yezide.
He can't get out of the circle.
can I ask you something?
Of course, come and sit down.
Have a vodka.
What is it you want to know?
Why can't Yezides
get out of a circle?
Probably because they've taken a vow
never to get out of a circle.
It's not that they can't.
They don't wish
to break that vow.
are devil worshippers,
so of course
the devil leaves them alone.
But he limits their freedom
so that no one should guess
that they're his servants.
I'm sorry intelligent people
still believe in such rubbish.
Give them a bottle of vodka
and they'll get out quick enough!
Doctor lvanov,
Your Excellency...
What do you think?
It's simply hysteria.
Yes, hysteria.
He was buried yesterday.
His spirits crept into him
in the night
and brought him here.
He's evil.
Now he can't do any more harm.
- Are you Gurdjieff?
- Yes.
I am Sarkis Pogossian.
I've just come from Kars.
Your father asked me
to give you this.
Have you anywhere to stay?
No, the town's full.
Stay with me.
I'm here to finish my studies
and in two years,
I'll be ordained as a priest.
Is that what you want?
My faith is very strong.
But a priest...
to become a priest...
I don't know.
My father said,
"If you want to lose your faith
"make friends with a priest."
Nothing convinces me either.
Science proves one thing,
religion another
and both seem equally true.
So what?
I've read every sort of book,
new, old.
I've seen marvels
which I can't explain
and I am more thirsty
than ever.
What are you looking for?
I want to know
why I am here.
Why I am here?
Can any of us know that?
There is a group of us
all shattered by that question.
Nothing will stop us
until we find an answer.
This is Yelov.
He's an Aissor.
You know what that means?
"Boil 7 Russians,
you get a Jew,
"boil 7 Jews,
you get an Armenian,
"boil 7 Armenians,
you get an Aissor."
But what do you know of Aissors?
An Aissor can make good business
out of anything.
We're trying to understand
the power of vibrations.
We are working in the dark.
This collection is unique.
It gives the mathematical basis
of studies in the old monasteries.
I knew it had to exist
He wants 5 rubels.
We must have them.
American canary.
Magnificent American canary.
- How much?
- 5 rubels.
I'II take it.
- There's nothing in this.
- Nor this.
Quick! We found something!
What is it?
- Can you read it?
- It's in old Armenian.
They seem to be letters
from one monk to another.
"We have at last succeeded
"in learning the truth
"about the Sarmoung brotherhood."
I've seen that name
in one of the books.
The most ancient
of all the secret schools,
it was founded in Babylon
in the year 2500 BC.
But after the 6th century
disappears without a trace.
Go on.
The Sarmoung brotherhood
in the valley of lzroumin,
3 days from Nivssi.
It might still be there today.
We must go.
It's a dangerous region.
There have been massacres.
- It's not important.
- It's forbidden to foreigners.
The frontier is closed
and it's heavily guarded.
I must find this school.
We haven't the money.
I'II make some.
I'll ride on the devil's back
if necessary,
as long as I get there.
Anyhow, we can't all go.
I'm coming with you.
Sit down!
We need these letters
to be delivered secretly.
You'II be paid
each time.
Here's the list of priests
who help our movement.
Take care.
Halt! Halt!
My leg!
I have a letter for you.
My friend is very ill.
Bring him in.
You are very welcome.
I have lived here all my life,
there has never been a school
like the one you describe,
not here.
What did you say
it was called?
The year before last,
a man quite unknown to me
came and asked me to show him
a map I possess.
How could he have known I had it?
I have no idea.
I inherited it
from my grandfather.
The man was so insistent I thought
why shouldn't I let him see it?
He looked at the parchment
and immediately offered me
200 Turkish pounds for it.
You might like
to take a look at it.
He said it was a map
of Egypt before the sands.
I didn't wish to part with it.
Anyway, I didn't need the money
so I refused.
The next day
he came to offer 500 pounds.
Now I was tempted!
But this proved to me
that it must be
very valuable
and it must not be let go too cheaply,
so I refused again.
He then explained to me
he was a Russian prince
who needed it for his collection
of antiques,
and if I wouldn't let him
depart with it, would I let him
make a copy of it for 200 pounds?
Just think!
200 pounds for a copy
of a parchment.
He's gone.
We must go to Egypt.
Don't worry,
we'll pay the price.
You're a fool not to rest.
I love work.
I'm beginning to understand
why I like working with my body.
It stops me from being swept away
by all my idiotic dreams.
You are right.
Pogossian, it's Egypt!
Are you ready?
We are there.
I'm not going with you.
Please understand...
I'm staying with the ship.
We will not lose touch
with one another,
but I want to go on learning
about machines.
Help me with these.
Hey, gravedigger!
Prince Lubovedsky.
Are you still collecting the dust
of people who died long ago?
Why not?
At least it's real,
not imaginary
like your life's work.
Where did you get that?
Are you the man who gave
200 pounds to an Armenian priest
to copy this map?
Yes, I am that man.
We need to speak to one another.
Since I was a child
I had the feeling that something
is missing in me.
I felt that apart
from my ordinary life
there is another life,
a life which is calling me.
But how to be open to it?
This question
never gives me any peace
and I've become like a hungry dog
chasing everywhere for an answer.
You should be happy
you've had that experience.
When I was your age
I was only interested in myself.
I was concerned with satisfying
my needs and those of my family.
my wife died in childbirth.
I could not recover from the shock.
Life had no meaning any more.
One day, an old dervish came
to my house and asked to see me.
We talked together for a long time
and as he spoke
I experienced something
far greater than all the impulses
I normally obeyed.
When the dervish left me
the experience vanished,
but I knew
what I was looking for.
For that,
help was needed.
I had the means to travel.
I went to Africa,
Afghanistan and Persia.
I organized expeditions to places
where I thought I'd find an answer.
I lived in monasteries
and met many people
with interests similar to my own.
How can I meet such people?
I need to know.
What do you need to know?
I want to learn.
I want to understand.
Be careful.
What do you call learning?
If it means stirring up
experiences and beliefs
it will tie you up like a cord
and prevent you from learning.
Knowing happens directly,
when not even a thought
stands between you
and the thing you know.
Then you see yourself
as you are,
not as you would like to be.
I have learned how difficult
this can be.
Dear young friend
I will do everything I can
to help you attain your aim.
This is the dervish Boga-Eddin.
You wish to ask something?
What exercises
can help me feel myself
in a new way?
I have been in Upper Boukhara
where I met a most
interesting man.
We came here together.
This old man is a member of
a brotherhood
from the heart of Asia.
He is living not far from here.
Go and see him. Talk with him about
the questions which interest you.
It may help you to become clear
about what it is you seek.
Be so kind, father,
and explain to me
what you think
of breathing exercises.
After breathing in the air
I hold it for a certain time
then slowly exhale.
Let God kill him
who does not know,
yet presumes to show others
the way.
All breathing exercises taught today
can do nothing but harm.
Our organism
is very complicated.
We must either change everything,
or nothing.
Otherwise instead of good
you might do harm.
my advice to you is
stop all your exercises.
One can think well here.
You are Russian?
I am glad to speak
to someone from Russia.
I have been in Russia.
But that is not the point.
Hey, Gogo!
How do you know that name?
Only my mother and my nurse
ever called me by it
and that was over 40 years ago.
You have worked and suffered
all these years,
but you never knew how to work,
how to let the desire of your mind
become the desire of your heart.
Who are you?
How do you know me so well?
Does it really matter who I am?
Or what I am?
Isn't your curiosity a reason
why your life has come to nothing?
It is so strong
that even now
all you want is an explanation
of who I am
and how I know you?
Yes, Father.
You are right.
I have seen many miracles
and tried to explain them,
but it has brought me
no real understanding.
Yes, I am empty.
It is too late.
I do not truly want to know
what ljust asked you.
I sincerely beg your pardon.
Perhaps it is not yet too late.
If you feel with all your being
that you really are empty,
then I advise you
to try once more.
If you agree to one condition,
I shall help you.
The condition is: die...
to the life
you have led until now,
and go where I shall indicate.
I am looking for
the dervish Boga-Eddin.
He has returned to Boukhara.
I owe them money.
I have been a cheat
all my life.
I used to steal from my mother.
I forged bank notes.
I'll try to help you.
Professor Skridlov!
- This is my friend.
- Soloviev.
- The Prince has gone away.
- I know.
What now?
At last I am on the track
of something really important.
I've learnt that under the sand
of the Gobi desert
villages and even
entire cities lie buried.
The information has been
handed down from father to son
under the seal of secrecy.
I think I can find
the site of an ancient library.
Can you imagine
the secrets
that still might be there?
I'm preparing an expedition,
would you like to come?
We need
men we can trust.
I can bring some friends.
I didn't think
you'd reach us in time.
- Nor did we.
- We had to cross the Amou-Daria.
There were Afghan guards
and British soldiers everywhere.
So Yelov got hold of
the uniform of a British soldier
and passed himself off
as an officer from India.
What are those poles?
That is something
I have to learn about.
There are many dangers
but we've found
some extraordinary solutions.
They may save our lives.
There is always a way
to keep our thoughts alive.
I'm learning Tibetan.
Untie them! Quickly!
We are lost!
They are dangerous.
I cannot ask you to go any further.
Now we must separate again...
till one of us finds a way.
I must go to Boukhara.
I can't go back now.
Take me with you.
Do you know
the dervish Boga-Eddin?
Do you know
The dervish Boga-Eddin?
Is the dervish Boga-Eddin
in Boukhara?
Have you found
what you were looking for?
I have found nothing.
I don't know how to search.
There's never any answer.
What can I do now?
I'm desperate.
You will never find the answer
by yourself.
Alone, a man can do very little.
His only hope is to find the place
where real knowledge
has been kept alive.
I advise you to try to find
the Sarmoung brotherhood.
Go up the Amou-Daria.
Go towards Kafiristan.
It is a dangerous undertaking.
You will be risking your life.
But at the right moment
there will be a guide.
Can I take my friend with me?
I think you may,
if you can vouch for his honour.
I think that you are foreigners.
do not be alarmed.
I do not want to know who you are
or why you are here.
It would be pleasant for me
to talk with a European.
My name is Father Giovanni.
Long ago,
I was a Christian missionary,
then accidentally
I came in contact
with members
of the world brotherhood
who were striving for what
I had dreamed of all my life.
I was admitted
to their brotherhood.
Since then, I have never
wished to go anywhere else.
You are welcome.
Father Giovanni,
how can you stay here
instead of returning to Italy
and giving the people there
something of the faith
you are now inspiring in me?
Ah, Professor,
you do not understand
man's psyche
as well as you know archaeology.
Faith cannot be given to man.
Faith is not the result of thinking.
It comes from direct knowledge,
for example,
if my own brother
were to entreat me to give him
a tenth part of my understanding,
I couldn't,
because he has neither the knowledge
nor the experience
which I have acquired in my life.
This would be like
wishing to fill someone
with bread merely by looking at him.
There is a law:
the quality
of what you understand
depends on the quality
of the person speaking.
In our order
we have two very old brothers,
the one is called brother Akhel,
the other brother Seze.
They constantly travel from one
monastery to another preaching there.
Once or twice a year
they come to us.
This is always
a very great event.
When brother Seze speaks,
it is like the song
of the birds in paradise.
Brother Akhel's speech
has almost the opposite effect.
He speaks badly and indistinctly.
The stronger the impression
made by brother Seze,
the quicker it evaporates,
until there is nothing left.
Brother Akhel makes
almost no impression,
but what he says penetrates
into the heart and remains there.
We all came to the conclusion
that the sermons of Brother Seze
came entirely from his mind
and acted only on our minds,
whereas those of Brother Akhel
came directly from his being
and acted on our being.
Yes, Professor, thinking and knowing
are quite different.
One must strive to know.
This alone can lead to our Lord God.
Father Giovanni has consented
to take me under his protection.
I'm going to stay here.
I have a feeling
I have nothing more to seek.
Your guide is waiting.
I must ask you
to take a solemn oath
never to reveal to anyone
the place
to which we will lead you.
You have found your place, my son.
You come like a lamb,
but don't forget
you have a wolf in you as well.
Can you find the force to enable
these 2 quite opposite lives
to live together in yourself?
Listen carefully,
this will not happen
by itself.
It is not enough
just to think about it,
to dream, to wait.
At any moment,
the wolf can devour the lamb
and you must learn what it means
to become responsible.
This is an exact science
and that is why
you are here.
I will now put you into the hands
of someone
in whom you can have
complete trust.
Go and look and see
what is happening in the courtyards.
You will see movements,
exercises, dances.
Afterwards come and tell me
what you have got from them.
I will then be able to tell you
what to do next.
I thought I had lost you forever.
I am happy that you got here
by yourself, without my help.
It proves that during this time
you haven't been asleep.
- Are you ill?
- It's nothing.
Come with me.
Everyone in the monastery learns
the alphabet of these movements.
They are exactly like books.
We can read in them truths placed
there many thousands of years ago.
I understand.
What is the real meaning
of these movements?
They tell us
of 2 qualities of energy
moving without interruption
through the body.
As long as the dancer
can keep in balance these 2 energies
he has a force
that nothing else can give.
This morning, I was called
to the patriarch.
He told me that I have only
3 years to live
and advised me to spend them
in the Olman monastery
on the northern slopes
of the Himalayas
in order to accomplish
what I have dreamed of all my life.
He said he would arrange everything
to make my stay there productive.
I agreed to set out at once.
Oh God, is it true?
There is no better way
to finish my life.
Perhaps I shall be able to make up
for all the years I lost senselessly.
You have now found the conditions
in which the desire of your heart
can become
the reality of your being.
Stay here
until you acquire a force in you
that nothing can destroy.
Then you will need
to go back into life
and there you will measure yourself
constantly with forces
which will show you your place.