Cosmic calcium and massage in movies

Cosmic calcium and massage in movies

By Paola Bassanese

July 2012 has been a particularly inspiring month.

There have been some truly life-changing films being shown at the cinema and they have provided an excellent opportunity to stop and think about the bigger picture.

Thanks to a client’s recommendation I went to see two fabulous documentaries at the cinema: Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present and Nostalgia for the Light by Patricio Guzmán.


Why “cosmic calcium”? In Nostalgia for the Light there is a study of both material bodies and cosmic bodies, matter and subatomic particles.

You look up at the sky and look down to the earth in a constant quest for knowledge and answers. Shot in the beautiful Atacama desert in Chile, a place full of symbolism as it is both the location of a world-leading observatory and the former site of Pinochet’s concentration camp. Dust in the desert is made up of both cosmic matter and organic matter, as the remains of the desaparecidos or disappeared political prisoners are being searched by relatives. Even mummified bodies of nomadic peoples dating from pre-Columbian civilisations have been found there, preserved beautifully by the dry climate. Calcium is the thread that unites organic and cosmic matter: just like stars are made of calcium so are we in our own bones. Carbon atoms make living matter what it is.


Call me a one track mind but of course I do get excited when I see massage being shown in movies. Nostalgia for the Light shows a beautiful massage sequence. It’s a face, neck and shoulder massage that not only soothes muscles but nourishes the soul too.


A completely different form of massage is shown in Marina Abramovic The Artist is Present.

As a performance artist, 65 year old Marina Abramovic pushes her physical body to the almost physically unfeasible. In the documentary about the stunning installation The Artist is Present at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2010, Marina is shown having regular massage treatments to keep her body in shape and cope with the strain of her extraordinary physical efforts. Her performance required her to sit still and completely silent for 7 hours a day, 6 days a week for 3 months. Museum goers were invited to sit opposite her mirroring her silence and stillness. People cried, felt elated or puzzled. A powerful presence and the creation of a “charismatic space” were the key elements of the installation. This can be seen as therapy or meditation.


The Artist is Present is a transformational movie about being in the present and being aware of the constant distractions that are limiting our lives and our potential.

“Those who have a memory are able to live in the fragile present moment”.