Strictly Ballroom

with Paul Mercurio

Viewed November 15, 2008

During the first five or ten minutes of this movie, I thought it was going to be infuriatingly superficial and unsatisfying, but then I was surprised. It turned out not only to have a great deal of depth, but it also provided lots of fodder for some of our best and deepest video questions in quite some time.

We talked about our fears (Question 1) and the life lessons that damaged us (Question 8), and noted how these two questions are often related to each other. We talked about the difference between concerns (the worries that help us) and fears (the worries that harm us). We talked about the ways we've defined ourselves (Question 9) and how that has sometimes held us back by, for example, requiring us to be perfect instead of allowing us to make mistakes (since we will actually always make a mistake sometime or other).

However, most of our time and a great deal of our emotional energy was wrapped up in Question 7, because we realized that (for many of us, at least) our hope has been rekindled during the ten days since the presidential election. We talked about how deeply we had felt wounded in our spirit, based on the actions of our nation, and how helpless and hopeless we have become over the last eight years. And we marveled at the relief and energy and sense of possibilities that came over us when we realized the outcome of the election.

This was a deep, visceral reaction shared by everyone present, and during the last ten days we have felt fundamentally different -- more able to tackle difficult issues because we knew there was the possibility of good things happening in the world around us. We commented on the difference between the HOPE of good things happening, which we can have prior to anything occurring, and the TRUST that good things will happen, which is normally built up over time as good things do actually occur. We all saw how much pent-up raw emotion there was in us, in response to the events of the past eight years, and how strongly we experienced the change in our perception of the world and the hope that comes along with it.
(This video was reviewed by Bob McGarey)

Feel free to come and share your own personal insights sometime; the Saturday Night Video and Discussions here in Austin, Texas are a lot of fun and fascinating. (They're free, too.) Here are the questions the group came up with, based on the personal growth themes in the movie:


  1. What are the fears I still have that are keeping me from growing?
  2. How can I stop these dadgum family secrets?
  3. How have I responded to being stomped on/kicked/impaled emotionally?
  4. How have I conformed in my file, and how is that working for me?
  5. How do I respond to manipulation? How do I recognize manipulation?
  6. What courageous stands have I taken that have changed my life?
  7. How do I regain hope after I've lost it?
  8. What "life lessons" have I learned that damaged me? Healed me?
  9. What are the stupid things that I use to define myself?