Monday, April 10, 2006

What's So Funny About Laughter?

My wife and I picked up a few DVDs from the library this weekend. The great thing about getting DVDs from the library is you can bring home stuff that you normally wouldn't risk paying a rental fee for, but have been told you should see some time. This was basically true for two of the movies we brought home: I Heart Huckabees, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape. We found Huckabees to be great fun. Very funny. Sex, Lies, and Videotape was also suprisingly funny. You've probably seen it, but if you haven't, the movie is mostly about lies and videotape, but Lies and Videotape, Mostly doesn't really sell.

We also picked up a collection of documentaries called Full Frame Documentary Shorts, vol. 1. We haven't had time to watch any of it except for the first film. But that film is the purpose of this post.

In 1999, Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding) made a film documenting an interesting phenomenon occuring in India, specifically, in Bombay. Co-directed Adam Bartos, The Laughing Club of India explores an entire, thriving subculture of Indians who have discovered the benefits of laughing for up to 40 minutes per day in a group.

It started with a doctor who had an idea and shared it with a few skeptical friends, and now there are upwards of 500 of these clubs in India, with tens of thousands of people participating every morning. Their rituals include warm-up laughing before diving into several different full-out laughing exercies involving different styles of laughing. My favourite was the one that had young professional men and old women alike sticking their tounges out of their mouths and laughing forcefully.

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