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 2004 “Renewing Integrity Through Film: The Vision of Truth” was the theme.

To Kill a Mockingbird DVD

Integrity in life means not only behaving according to certain moral principles, in the sense of honesty and sincerity, but also striving for wholeness within and harmony with others.  This film seminar explores this virtuous quality of life, which is – according to Erik Erikson – the highest stage of human development.

In these eight feature films the main actor/actress embodies integrity 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 integrity and truth.  Through empathy and compassion for others, we can move towards integrity. Films have a unique power to facilitate this process.

Films shown in this order:

To Kill a Mockingbird
The Rules of the Game (1939)
The Fog of War
The Insider
The King of Masks
Ulee’s Gold
Roman Holiday

Late-night bonus films shown:

Whale Rider
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Singin’ in the Rain


Br. David Steindl-Rast
Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

Br. David Steindl-Rast, OSB

About the author

Brother David Steindl-Rast — author, scholar, and Benedictine monk — is beloved the world over for his enduring message about gratefulness as the true source of lasting happiness. Known to many as the “grandfather of gratitude,” Br. David has been a source of inspiration and spiritual friendship to countless leaders and luminaries around the world including Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh, Thomas Merton, and more. He has been one of the most important figures in the modern interfaith dialogue movement, and has taught with thought-leaders such as Eckhart Tolle, Jack Kornfield, and Roshi Joan Halifax. His wisdom has been featured in recent interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Krista Tippett, and Tami Simon and his TED talk has been viewed almost 10,000,000 times. Learn more about Br. David here.