Who was Gurdjieff?

George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff was born around 1872 in Alexandropol, in the Caucasus Mountains, the crossroads between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. At an early age, he was exposed to many different cultures, religions, and beliefs. Initially trained as both priest and physician, his youthful passion of searching for universal truth attracted others. Calling themselves “Seekers of the Truth,” this small company traveled together throughout central Asia, the Middle East, and Egypt, looking for clues that might show them the meaning of human life. Gurdjieff was eventually led to a monastery which exposed him to a body of esoteric knowledge. He was then able to transform the understanding he had gathered into a new teaching which encompassed human possibility and the difficulties of developing real being. He devoted the remainder of his life to living the principles of this teaching.

For more information about this phase of Gurdjieff’s life, we recommend reading his book, Meetings With Remarkable Men. The director Peter Brook, in conjunction with Jeanne de Salzmann, made a film of the book (with the same title), which is available on DVD from By the Way Books.

Meetings with Remarkable Men Trailer

This biopic traces the early life of G.I. Gurdjieff (Dragan Maksimovic), a seeker and mystic who travels extensively throughout Asia and the Mediterranean in his desire to learn about ancient religions. The eponymous “remarkable men” are the various teachers he submits to along the way, including the members of an esoteric sect and a Russian prince (Terence Stamp). Once his survey is complete, Gurdjieff begins to develop and teach his own version of spiritual evolution.
Release date: August 5, 1979 (New York City)
Director: Peter Brook
Music composed by: Laurence Rosenthal
Producer: Stuart Lyons
Screenplay: George Gurdjieff, Peter Brook, Jeanne de Salzmann