Since 1990 Dr. Francis Lu and Brother David Steindl-Rast have led annual 5- or 7-day film seminars at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.  Films on a particular spiritual theme (such as Healing Through Gratefulness) are shown and discussed, focusing on the participants’ personal experiences.  In 2005 “Exuberance, Creativity and Delight in Film” was the theme.

Leonard Bernstein

According to Joseph Campbell, “the function of mythology is to connect you to your bliss, and find where it truly is.” Films, as one form of our modern-day mythology, can infuse us with energy and a passion for life. This exuberance can spark creativity through bringing together ideas in unique and novel ways. Finally, we are in the flow of life that Campbell describes: “Participate in the play, in the play of life… the Great Delight.”

In these eight feature films the main characters embody exuberance and creativity in luminous, numinous performances. Watching these performances trains our eyes, minds, and hearts for a most specific purpose: to see, understand, and feel the longings of our psyches for delight.

Films shown in this order:

The Magic Flute (2000 DVD of Bergman film)
Shall We Dance? (1996 Japanese film)
French Cancan (2004 DVD of 1955 film)
Reaching for the Note
Day For Night (2003 DVD)
Don Juan DeMarco (1998 DVD)
Dream Window: Reflections on the Japanese Garden
Rivers and Tides
Tampopo (2005 DVD of 1987 film)

Late-night bonus films:

Dances of Ecstasy (2009 DVD replaced the 2003 DVD)
Leonard Bernstein Conducts “West Side Story” (1985 DVD)
What the Universe Tells Me – Unraveling the Mysteries of Mahler’s Third Symphony