The Vanishing Line
Written, Directed, Starring Maren Monsen
52 minute documentary enhanced with Goddesses

As Maren states on the videocassette box liner notes: "The Vanishing Line is a personal documentary by filmmaker and physician Maren Monsen. The film follows her journey to find new ways to face her dying patients. Using an intriguing combination of surreal imagery (that's me and the other two Goddesses) and documentary footage, the film juxtaposes a Greek myth about the inevitability of death against the Western medical model which views death as the enemy."

The Goddesses include the one who spins the yarn (life symbolized by the string). This Goddess runs around with her spinning wheel. The Goddess who measures the yarn (the length of one's life) and she carries a yard stick. And the Goddess who cuts the yarn. That's me ending life with big hedge clippers.

That's me on your right. Snip, snip, you're dead.


I'm in the middle of the three Goddesses. Here, we're in a hospital
ending the life of a man with AIDS, played bu Bruce Goodchild.
No, he's not in the bad at that moment. We're just setting up.

This is where I met Bruce, who turned out to be one of
my closest friends. See "What the Butler Saw" and "Losers."

Maren didn't know how to deal with dying patients and their loved ones. She met with people who had dealt with the "inevitable" death of a loved one, and she learned from them.

I'm sure Maren's heart was in the right place. But she obviously never heard of Dr. Bernie Siegel or others who espouse the mind-body connection and the benefits of non-AMA approved health care, more and more of which is becoming approved each day. Bernie says that if a doctor tells patients that they are going to die, many dutifully do as they're told, dying at the appointed date and time. Whereas, others say, "Oh, no. I have to see all my children married" or "I have to plant this spring," or "I'm not going." They are the survivors. Doctors ignore those "miraculous recoveries," rather than investigating them, never keeping track of patients who outlive their prognostications.

Maren truly believes that there is no recourse to allopathic treatment. It would be more honest and rightfully humble if doctors only told their patients when they, the doctors, have exhausted their available treatments (which is by no means the end of the line). Too many people have survived doctors' death sentences for the doctors to be so sure they have all the answers and know when I'm going to cut the string. And too many people have given up hope and died because they believed their doctors.

Dr. Monsen and her weaving Goddess
at the Los Pulgas Water Temple

Seems a bit moot for eternals to wear hardhats.
I with gaping mouth laugh a mortal coils and industrial trash

The Goddesses have a little R&R at an industrial site where surely some accident will occur. And just as surely, someone will be ambulanced to the hospital where Dr. Monsen will have to break the news that the patient will not make it.

On the other hand, many doctors are practicing hypnosis in the emergency room and encouraging medics in ambulances to start there so that the accident victim can start the healing process himself, with the encouragement of medical practitioners. This has been particularly beneficial to fire victims.

Goddesses out of costume, or are we just actresses again? The craft services table was abundant, the cause good, though, I feel, misguided. The tape is for sale. But I think your time would be better spent renting tapes from the Public Library, such as Bill Moyers' "Mind Body Connection," "The Heart of Healing," and anything you can find in audio, video or print by Dr. Bernie Siegel. All these sources, and many more, have stretched the meaning of health care, giving much responsibility back to the patient as well as other forms of healing.


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