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) were shown and discussed, focusing on the participants’ personal experiences.  This seminar from 2016 focused on the role of the family in teaching us how resilience develops over a lifetime and across generations. Learn about the films shown by clicking on the title hyperlinks below.

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”
– Helen Keller

Apu Trilogy

Mindfully watching the way families express love, endure loss, and locate their own resilience helps all of us see how we may face life’s inevitable challenges. These epic films about family are set within distinct cultural settings (11th c. Japan, 18th c. France, 19th c. Denmark, China, U.S., India, Japan, and Sweden). Directors include Gabriel Axel, Ingmar Bergman, D. W. Griffith, Akira Kurosawa, Kenji Mizoguchi, Alexander Payne, Satyajit Ray, Jean Renoir and Wayne Wang.


Film Order:

Orphans of the Storm
The River
The Apu Triology
Sansho, the Baliff
The Joy Luck Club
Babette’s Feast
Fanny and Alexander 
The Descendants
Rhapsody in August

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.