Summer in the Forest (L’Arche)

Date(s) - June 30, 2018
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Vancity Theatre

Categories No Categories

L’Arche is a centre for people with developmental disabilities created outside Paris in the 1960s by a Canadian-born former naval officer, Jean Vanier. The institution is indeed an ark, an inspiring model for a genuinely caring and nurturing environment (and indeed, Vanier has established similar facilities in dozens of countries).

Although Vanier (88) shares some of his life story, the documentary is not concerned with history so much as philosophy, and as much screen time is devoted to each of half a dozen inhabitants at L’Arche, many of whom have been there for decades (though there are some a couple in their late 20s/early 30s too), who share their thoughts and emotions as they go about their daily routine. Vanier himself speaks with heartfelt compassion about what he has learned from the company of “fools and poor”, and how they give him greater faith in humanity than “the wise and the powerful”. Hard to argue with that, these days.

Directed by Randall Wright (Hockney), Summer in the Forest is as bucolic, charming, and affectionate as its impressionistic title suggests.

“An extraordinarily tender documentary that asks what it means to be human. Here, even the most gentle scenes raise mighty questions.” Ken Jaworowski, New York Times

“It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. And it will remind you of what it really means to be strong.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *