Summer in the Forest
The life-affirming new documentary Summer in the Forest is in cinemas now and can also be viewed online.
This poetic film follows the life of the L’Arche community in Trosly, France, where people with learning disabilities and those who support them have found what it truly means to be human.
Like countless others Philippe, Michel, Andre and Patrick were labeled 'idiots', locked away and forgotten in violent asylums, until the 1960s, when the young philosopher Jean Vanier took a stand and secured their release - the first time in history that anyone had beaten the system. Together they created L'Arche, a commune at the edge of a beautiful forest near Paris. A quiet revolution was born.
Now in his 80s, and still at L'Arche, Jean has discovered something that most of us have forgotten - what it is to be human, to be foolish, and to be happy.
Imagine sitting down for a meal with someone different to you. Something stopped you coming here before. The expectation of awkward silence, perhaps. The suspicion that your worst fears about the other person might be confirmed. Your discomfort with the unknown. But as you begin to look at each other, to eat together, something shifts. You talk about everyday things, and begin to enjoy each other’s company. A joke catches you off-guard, and you start to laugh. You forget yourself.
Here is a trailer:
More details of the film are here including details of showings.
There is also a companion booklet that introduces the stars of the film, and the transforming wisdom of Jean Vanier, who founded the L’Arche movement.
"Breathtakingly beautiful... the keynote is joy... It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. And it will remind you of what it really means to be strong"
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Geoff Knott, 04/07/2017