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"Expanding in spiritual consciousness, Sissi has one fear: that everything will be the same as before."


Raymond Teague is the author of Reel Spirit: A Guide to Movies That
Inspire, Explore and Empower
, from Unity House. 

He is an award-winning
journalist, an editor of spiritual publications, a popular New Thought
speaker, and a lifelong movie buff. 

His book is available by clicking the "Buy the Book" link above or by clicking here.

  Raymond Teague, 
"Reel Spirit" Movie Reviews

The Princess and the Warrior
(2001, 130 minutes, German, R)

After being mesmerized by this fast-paced, inventive film about connections, interrelationships and fate, I made a connection of my own. The words of the physicist in the movie Mindwalk came to me: "The essential nature of matter lies not in objects but in interconnections...Ultimately, whether we like or not, we are all part of one inseparable web of relationships."

The Princess and the Warrior, written and directed by German filmmaker Tom Tykwer, explores life's connections with verve, originality and much intelligence, while telling a strange but compelling love story.

If you saw Run Lola Run, Tykwer's 1999 offering, you'll feel at home in this similarly frenetic film that explores the nature of reality. In Lola, Franka Potente plays a woman engaged in a literal race against "time" in various time lines and parallel lives. In different scenarios of Lola running to save her boyfriend, the viewer sees how even the smallest of actions lead to other actions and outcomes.

In Tykwer's latest, Potente again stars, this time as Sissi, an employee in an insane asylum who is saved by a mysterious man, Bodo (Benno Furmann), after an accident that Bodo helped cause. Sissi becomes obsessed with locating Bodo and finding out if there is more to their connection, if indeed Bodo is to be the instrument of significant change in her life. Lola, with its concern with the causes and effects of actions, is a sort of primer for The Princess and the Warrior, which plays even more with the effects of individuals on each other, looks more at the issues of synchronicity and fate in life, and also suggests the profound importance of the choices we make.

As the lives of Sissi and Bodo again overlap during a bank heist that Bodo and his brother have planned, Tykwer has ample opportunity to explore his themes. Sissi and Bodo initially are at the opposite ends of the spectrum as far as thinking about the meaning of life, actions, and relationships. Bodo, a simple, rough-living man with painful memories, is not the questioning sort. His opinion about life is, "It's all meaningless anyway." The sensitive, reflective and intuitive Sissi, however, counters, "Nothing's meaningless."

Pursued by Sissi and seemingly thwarted by fate, Bodo also eventually begins to question. "Why the two of us?" he wonders. Sissi's sense of their connection is at the soul level. She recounts a dream in which she saw herself and Bodo playing various life roles with each other, including brother and sister, husband and wife, mother and father. "Both of us were both," she says. "I thought it was happiness." Obviously, Sissi is connecting with the "big picture" of life's expanded movie. The amazing intricacy of the "big picture" is vividly depicted in the film with a clarity that real life often does not afford.

Expanding in spiritual consciousness, Sissi has one fear: that everything will be the same as before. She desires a major change and shift in her life. Sissi's desire for change and her grasp of the importance of connecting events and personalities also brings new realizations to Bodo. They both become more aware of their own choices and connections. Sissi seems to even have a sense that there is a divine plan at work. When complications arise during the bank heist, she says, "This isn't the plan." It's clear that she isn't talking about the robbery (which she did not help plan), but about the direction and purpose of her life. Of course, it's also evident from what transpires that even those events that don't appear related actually are related, again, in that "big picture."

A doctor says several times in the film that "everyone is very tense" and refers to "endangered patients." There is a sense that the doctor too is talking about the "big picture" and those interconnections of life - the general tenseness in modern society that comes from people not recognizing the meaningful "web of relationships" and interconnecting people and events in their lives. As Sissi realizes, "Nothing's meaningless." 

As Sissi demonstrates, when we make those connections, the meanings become clear. In traditional fairy tales, connections frequently become clearer and situations resolve when a handsome warrior or prince rescues a beautiful princess. In this film, there is a reverse when the princess (Sissi), with her spiritual insight, rescues the warrior (Bodo) from the angst and frustration of being an "endangered patient" lost in the mundane.

In her book My Grandfather's Blessings, Rachel Naomi Remen recites a prayer that begins, "Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles." Among those often over-looked miracles are our interconnecting relationships and the meaning that they give our lives.

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