Gurdjieff was not a con man or a charlatan. He predicted the clash between the West and East. He regarded the energy of American culture as a possible agent of preventing the destructive potentiality of this clash. But he also observed America's obsession with "dollars, sex and food" as an obstacle.
His system clearly has within it, among other predictive notions, the periodic table, the existence of other planetary bodies within the solar system, and has a breadth of knowledge of science, religion, art, philosophy, history, psychology not found in any western streams of thought or understanding.
In fact his intention was to synthesize eastern awareness with western practical notions in order to prevent the destruction the inevitable clash might bring about.
He used music and dance in a practical way for his students. This film has some very rare videos of the kind of dance he taught. It is hypnotic and unlike anything youve ever seen.
In the 1920s his students, under his direction, performed similar dances(and other demonstrations)at Carnegie Hall in New York. A reading of the newspapers of the day indicate these were a sensation at the time.
The movie used Jean Salzmann as an advisor, the former dancer who was one of his chief followers and whom he intended to be the principal teacher of his system in France after he died.
However, he deliberately fostered the notion that he was a charlatan and fraud, as the first obstacle to be removed, he knew, was one's own egoism and failure to understand that we are ignorant, have no unified identity and lack real will.
Those unable to see through his ruse were those not able to receive his teaching anyway, and were of no use to his greater purpose.
Hence his intention was never to make it easy to understand his ideas or methods.
This obstacle still remains, as he intended it to, and there are many false teachers using his name for their own purposes - which he also knew was inevitable.
This movie is based on the book he wrote, which deceptively appears to be a straightforward account of some episodes in his life.
The movie sets out only to cinematically present some of them and to ask the essential and universal questions he addressed in his teachings. In the book much is buried - much more so than in the movie - and should be construed as a series of parables.