A breath of fresh air from an award-winning director and filmmaker
From director Marc J. Francis (Black Gold) and filmmaker Max Pugh (The Road to Freedom Peak) comes the quiet masterpiece Walk with Me. The filmmakers take us into 91-year-old Vietnamese Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh’s world-famous monastery, Plum Village. A breath of fresh air from the noise of the film industry—and the world in general—the documentary is filled with quietness and contemplation, which is its own form of action/adventure (though rather slow-paced).
The film dives deep into the community at Plum Village and offers short glimpses into the lives of the monks and nuns that have given up their past selves for a life free of personal possessions, dedicating themselves to learning the art of mindfulness. Several scenes in the film feature Benedict Cumberbatch narrating the words of Thich Nhat Hanh’s journals during the turbulent times of 1962 to 1966 (Fragrant Palm Leaves) to allow for contemplation in between moments.
Forced into exile in the ‘60s during the Vietnam War as a result of his efforts to bring peace, he settled in France and established Plum Village. The monastery is known for its mindfulness teaching and host retreats for visitors from the world over.
The incredible cinematography
begins in winter, with passages that read of the resilience and strength of nature and its comparison to ourselves as humans. As the film goes on, daffodils appear to show southern France in early spring, as passages echo the qualities of each season.
Walk with Me also taps into our inherent curiosity to watch people: expressions of intention and peacefulness, boredom and mind-wandering dominate the faces of the students as time quietly passes at the monastery, marked by the intervaled bells that ring in Plum Village every 15 minutes to train mindfulness.
If unacquainted with the concept of mindfulness, I offer Thich Nhat Hanh:
“The practice of mindfulness is to always arrive. Arrive in the here and the now. We have been running a lot, but we have not arrived,” he says to a group of students in once scene. “Maybe we are looking for some conditions of happiness that we believe we don’t have, and running, searching has become habit … The practice of mindfulness helps us to come home into the here and now and to learn how to live our lives deeply, that way we will not waste our lives.”
Thu., Mar. 29 (7 pm) & Fri., Mar. 30 (4:30 pm)
Walk With Me