Masculinity-Movies blog

Moving from passive to active movie-watching (moved)

posted by Eivind on October 24, 2013, at 9:37 pm

This blog post has been "upgraded" to an article on Pelle Billing's recommendation.

Find it here:

Munch, God, gratitude and fierceness

posted by Eivind on October 8, 2013, at 11:52 am

Here's an update on my life. It contains nothing about movies, but plenty of coarse language.

Life feels different. I've had this persistent sense for almost a year now that I'm on the verge of a breakthrough. Like the world has appeared beyond a thin veil, one which I'm intuiting can be removed were I to find the key.

It seems this intuition has foreshadowed a transition into a new paradigm – a new way of operating in the world. For those of you who are into Spiral Dynamics, it seems to be the shift from Yellow to Turqoise.

It's not yet a stable realization, though more often than before, I'm awash in feelings of gratitude. I'm frequently awash in a deepened experience of beauty, of somethin akin to perfection. It's like it's pinning me down, tearing into the center of my chest and piercing my heart open. I weep regularly. I whisper "thank you thank you thank you" at random moments through the day, while tears stream down my face. I shake a lot as intense energy is moving through my body. And my relationships have improved massively.

Jesus feels close. And Buddha. All kinds of spiritual figures appear in my internal world these days.

edvard-munch-karl-johanAfter having practiced meditation for almost 13 years – and applied myself wholeheartedly to inner revolution for every day in that process – it seems I'm starting to experience something that can be described as spirituality.

From this place, I experience two things: An enormous appreciation for people, especially those who dare to be themselves, who dare set forth into the world with their hearts open, hellbent on expressing themselves at any cost. Whether it be those genius, cheeky guys in Ylvis who have contaminated us all with that annoyingly genious Fox song or Edvard Munch, who I experienced like never before two days ago in the Munch 150 exhibition here in Oslo Norway.

I have strong feelings of appreciation for all the people in the world who dare to give, who dare to be themselves. I feel gratitude to and kinship with them. They open the heart of the world, catalyzing the growth of consciousness, opening a space for us all to be ourselves more. Compared to the way it once was, living authentically is relatively easy these days.

We stand on the shoulders of giants. We really do. It's not a fucking refrigerator magnet. It's the goddamned truth.

As I walked through the Munch 150 exhibition here in Norway – the most comprehensive exhibition of Edvard Munch's work that's ever been – I felt that. I felt into this man, the genius which flowed through him. The intensity of his emotion. The vastness of his soul. And how he just carved into a frozen Norwegian culture with expressions of life lived and unlived, loved and unloved, that are so raw, so fierce, that they shook the entire culture. He was a revolutionary, simply because he found no place in the already established norms of society that was embracing enough to hold that which was inside of him.

It was as if for the first time in my entire life, I understood art. Again, I caught myself weeping, feeling the contours of my heart dissolve, expanding into vastness and the heart of Munch.

And when I read the recent news story about the boat with Somalians and Eritreans sinking off the coast of Italy, it struck me even deeper. One of the survivors had been interviewed. "Where are you headed?" "Norway" "Why?" "Freedom, freedom!"

Yes, I cry all the time these days. Here's a whole boatload of people – sinking to their wet, aquatic graves. What drove them to risk their lives like that? The faint glimmer of a chance of living here, my home country, the place I take for granted.

edvard-munch-girls-bridgeMy home country, which only a century ago was a developing country. My great grandfather (and even my grandfather once) would take his little boat and row for weeks from North of Norway to the great fishing in Lofoten. Sometimes he would arrive there and realize that there was not a lot of fish that year. Droves of men died that way – rowing their simple boats through stormy waters for weeks on end, without any guarantee of a reward.

And on their return, abject tragedy sometimes awaited. The mothers hadn't the time to both work and watch the children. My mother tells me of the family in the village where two kids fell into a large boiling kettle in a barn while playing. They died there, screaming in boiling water, while the mother was doing manual labour elsewhere. This is Norway just a few generations back.

As I feel my heart burst with these insights, another thing happens. A deep fierceness starts building in me. I get fierce towards complaints, towards petty squabbles, towards people of privilege who are unhappy because of things trivial! I get fierce with religious bigots, holier than thou on the outside, depraved and ugly on the inside. I get fierce with selfishness, ethnocentricity, with people who equate violence with courage. Fuck it all!

Staring into the face of the biggest plate of abundant-fucking-perfection that any people has experienced in the entire history of this species, this planet, how the FUCK do we manage to not appreciate it! It makes my blood boil.

edvard-munch-screamWe feel this beauty with isms and pissms and complain complain complain about I'm not getting this I'm not getting that, waa waa waa waa. Shut the fuck up! Perfection is staring you in the face and your fucking annoying, infantile complaining is shitting on the miracle that you are surrounded with! You are so FUCKING UNGRATEFUL!

That's what's starting to happen inside of me at times these days. And I feel the love in there. It's not a rejection of the people. It's an embrace. It's being a stand for something greater. I believe the Buddhists have a word for it.

It scares me. My little ego cringes at the thought of standing for this out in the world. Even writing it here is pushing it. My little ego which craves likes on Facebooks and that jumps a little every time my mobile phone makes a sound, fearing it will be something bad, hoping it will be something good, that’s part of this story too. It makes things more complicated..

I sit with people and am afraid they will reject me, simply because the thoughts I have are so revolutionary. I dare not lead, because what I feel is so out of the box. I’m afraid that my intensity will scare them. For the first time in my life, a person has told me to my face that he thinks I'm crazy and actually meant it. Large amounts of people are coming out and telling me that they are a little afraid of me. And I feel almost nauseous when intuiting that this will happen on a wide scale sometime in the future.

Such a fragile little thing my ego. How can it handle an authentic life? How can it allow leadership? Fearing rejection, how can it allow penetrating the culture like Munch once did? How can we all – for I hope you are in on this – change the world by expressing what be believe in fully?

We'll see.

But a few things are clear:

  • Everything in my life that is painful is at its core about wanting to get something
  • Everything in my life that is truly joyful is at its core about actually giving something
  • I need other people around me - I can't do shit on my own
  • Whatever the path is, it involves both men and women
  • I’m very happy I’m moving temporarily to the US in just over a week
  • I will have to pray and meditate like a motherfucker

Taking on leadership in a burning world

posted by Eivind on September 29, 2013, at 3:39 pm

On Friday, I was featured in a big article in a national magazine here in Norway. It was on the new men’s movement and the evolving male role. The exposure came through no effort of mine – a journalist called one day and wanted to talk; other people in the story had mentioned my name.

In harvesting the fruits of years of labor, I’ve come to feel new things inside. New reflections are coming up. I shared the following with my Facebook friends earlier today. I now want to share it with you. It’s a challenge for you. For us. To step up. Because the world truly does depend on it.


The stuff around the D2 article and feedback I've been receiving has me realize that if I now want to, I can deliberately – over quite a short period of time – build a name for myself as a leader of the next unfolding step of the gender discourse in Norway.

20130928_115919_resizedThat scares me. After I saw myself on print, I noticed that the open-heartedness and strong sense of unity I've felt over the last several weeks faded and there was a stronger sense of separation again.

One way of framing that is that I'm cautious of my ego acting up on me – that I'm afraid it will overcome me with its desire to be grandiose and "special". I think that's an interpretation of lesser consciousness. I see people do ego-bashing – I've engaged in it myself – and it doesn't inspire me.

What tends to happen with ego-bashing is that the super-ego hijacks the battle against ego. The battle against ego becomes my identity. Instead of becoming free, the devilishly sneaky super-ego hijacks the whole dynamic, turning me into its bitch. When our super-egos successfully turn us into flagellants, people who think that we will become free by punishing ourselves for being human, they have installed a near-perfect immune system in us. In the hunt for ego-death, we become slaves of the super-ego. Shit, eh?

(If we're going to do ego-bashing, let's outsource it to someone who's good at it, and can deliver it to us with precision. Rare individuals can pull this off – but when we try to emulate this in ourselves, we are *fucked*)

No, I think a deeper cut is that I – WE – are afraid of being large, as in – who might we be if we stopped holding back and stepped into our full power?

It's so easy, especially from a new-agey anti-hierarchical perspective, to frame such thoughts as being hungry for power and for looking good. To frame the healthy desire to fully give our gifts as pathology. False humility seems to be an ideal.

But fuck me – I love the people who I consider as teachers and leaders. I love that I'm going to Boulder to study Circling with Decker Cunov et al. I love that Ken Wilber has contributed his eccentric genius to my interior maps, that Robert Bly has opened my heart and soul, that the lovely ladies of Celebration of Being have contributed their sensitivity and compassion, that David Deida taught me about polarity and the 3rd stage, that Robert Moore and Douglas Gillette have contributed their archetypal genius, that Carl Jung dared to be a forerunner for us all, that Dag Furuholmen and Eirik Balavoine have taught me lessons on maleness, that The ManKind Project opened me to my grief and strong feelings of brotherhood and that Alex Vartman has added a dollop of shame-disrupting sexual play and powerful transmission. To mention but a few.

I have been arrogant in the past. But misunderstood where it was coming from. I would frame it as pathology and beat myself up for it, trying to be falsely humble, so as to reject a deeper knowledge that secretly frightens the shit out of me – that I'm meant to lead.

A deep sense of arrogance can come from being a leader that's not living his or her leadership. You kow what? I think we all experience it in some sense or another. We're all leaders waiting to find our followers. And if I lead you in one area of life, I follow you in another. Leadership has ceased being a fixed dynamic – it's becoming an ever-evolving organic flow, taking into account the different lines of development, rejecting the one-dimensional interpretation of leadership that would have us think that whoever is our teacher should be our teacher in ALL areas of life. Just because I'm an expert on archetypes doesn't mean I can teach you jack about playing the guitar.

Here's what I think. When we know we must lead, but don't dare to, then we start becoming grandiose – to compensate for the betrayal of our soul's impetus to move, to become itself fully.
And thus, there comes that moment in life where not leading is the path of unhealthy ego. Where not leading, not stepping up, is being violent, is the act of betrayal.

I'm getting awfully close to that point. I dare bet that a lot of you reading this are too. And it freaks me the fuck out. Which is why I've been spending a lot of time this weekend in refuge, playing a game on my new phone: Knights & Dragons.

Enjoying that I'm not beating myself up for it. It's a good game! Little colorful men with magic swords killing colorful dragons that drop little stars, amulets and shit. From the perspective that there is something healthy in the weirdest behavior, I call it integration time.

Though here's the bottom line: It's time to step up, people. That goes for us all! The world is burning. And it will keep burning as long as people like you and me sit on our asses, wallowing in the pain of not stepping up.


PS! And if you want to join me in the wonderful mini-world of Knights and Dragons, which I may seek refuge in as I burn in the intensity of this a little longer, use my code for a magic armor WBD-NPH-QVZ. I’m serious, bro. Open-mouthed smile

Conversations with men #2: Circling and superheroes

posted by Eivind on September 11, 2013, at 7:15 am

In this interview, I talk with John Thompson and Sean Wilkinson of Circling Europe about the practice of Circling, symbols in movies and how we all have X-men powers waiting to be discovered.

Topics include:

  • The practice of Circling
  • Movie as a lens for our own evolution
  • The integration of shadow
  • What does our fascination with superheroes tell us about ourselves?
  • Symbols in Batman and Superman
  • The importance of surrender
  • The hero's quest
  • Are we all X-men deep down?

Enjoy – and leave your comments below!


The Facebook 1000 challenge

posted by Eivind on August 30, 2013, at 9:51 pm


Some of you may have noticed that this website was down for several days. Funny how much damage a lapse in my presence can make. I have a lot of things to juggle in life right now and as I was travelling to the US to finish a leadership training, an expiring domain name and the subsequent domain transfer woes were the last thing on my mind.


The result was a website that was down for several days. As I logged on and looked at that blank screen, I came to realize that I’m more attached to this website than I had realized.

I was a bit surprised. I mean, I have hardly written here for almost a year. But I love this website. I love what I’ve done with it. I love the conversations I’ve had with you here. I love that other men have found value in this and contributed their own reviews. I love the places it’s taken me. I love the fact that, lying on my death bed many years from now, I will count it among my life’s significant achievements.

You know, I started up back in 2009 because I was basically lost. I was unmentored and afraid. Strangely, slowly finding my way through my own confusion – a process that is ongoing to this day – somehow turned me into an authority on the subject. As far as I know, I’m the leader of this little niche online. Nobody in the world that I know has explored this theme like I have. Thinking about that, I feel a little proud.

Sitting here now, I’m a little scared, but mostly detached about what has happened: In the downtime, just disappeared from my Google results. When I search for it now, I can’t find it. I used to be the number 1 result. Now I’m gone. I don’t like that. I don’t like that one bit.

Now, I hope Google have routines that will restore the site to its rightful place pretty quickly, but I’m not gonna sit idly by and hope for the best.

There’s a lot at stake for me now. And instead of feeling broken by the possibility of having many years of web presence wiped out by a few days of distraction, I want to up the game. Strangely, I feel inspired by all of it. I like the sense of detachment I have from the potential drama of it.


So here’s what I’m thinking...

There’s an idea out there, pioneered by Kevin Kelly, that having 1000 true fans is enough to ensure someone’s livelihood. Now, I don’t know if you consider yourself a true fan of my work, but it would be nice if you did.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours working on this site. I may have crossed into the thousands. I have no idea. In all that time, I’ve made maybe about $3000-4000 from it. That’s well below minimum wage.

As I find myself in this uncertainty of being self-employed and having to find sources of revenue, I’m exploring ways of generating money from my work. Some products come to mind.

But here’s the god-honest truth: I’ve always been really afraid of selling to you. I’ve been afraid of being a pest that wants to push things down your throat.

I default to thinking that you will be annoyed and forget that my value system is such that whenever I market something to you, It’s because I truly believe it would help you. So, I have a fear of rejection pattern still running here. But really, it’s time to move on from that. I’m ready to have you dislike me. Fair? Good!

I ask you for your help with two things:

  1. Reaching more people
  2. Monetizing my work

For now, point #1 is what I will address. I want to reach those 1000 true fans. And I want to get there by Christmas. It’s an ambitious goal, reflecting my new commitment to this site. Let me talk a bit about that before I end...

Uncompromisingly looking for quality

Eivind Figenschau SkjellumI feel committed, but I don’t have a clear direction yet. To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if I will write lots of reviews. I consistently find myself frustrated when movies I am trying to review don’t provide the gold. Like with Falling Down, the review that’s been a thorn in my side. Now, don’t get me wrong – it’s a good movie and I like it. But when I go digging, I find myself starting to question the depth of the movie makers. I’m wading through simplistic story-telling and shallow observations on the human condition. It’s an intelligent movie, but only to the level I expect anyone to be able to go. It’s riddled with caricatures! No depth! And then I forget the laughs and thrills I had watching and start questioning the level of consciousness that went into the movie. It looked like a brilliant story to analyze! But no. I fail to see it now.

I’m becoming pickier. More uncompromising. Most movie-makers are too shallow for my taste. Writing about Falling Down is like writing about half a dozen movies I’ve already written about. Man being attached to his mum, trying to keep the facade by repressing his emotions, shit hitting the fan bla bla. Though I have found one piece of gold in it, thankfully (watch this space).

So you see, not every movie is as good as American Beauty. Sad, huh? Not that I don’t enjoy a shallow movie every once in a while. But writing about it? No, show me the fucking money – give me the juice! At least try! Don’t ask me to go dumb so that you can feed me your predigested shit. Don’t assume I’m stupid so that you can have blockbuster potential. Please! (well done, Man of Steel – great movie, great blockbuster. Loved it)

So, you see, I’m starting to own how demanding I am. And I like that about me! I don’t settle for crap. And if I can’t find the goods in movies, then I will explore it elsewhere. Though in the presence of you all. Cause I want to connect with you. Get to know you. Go deeper together.

Sound good? Then like me on Facebook now!

Will you help me? Will you join me on this journey? Will you help me reach 1000 likes on Facebook by December 31? I hope so. There may be some surprises and prizes on the way there too Winking smile

Cheers, my friend. I appreciate your help, friendship and interest. Let’s rock the boat together.


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