This documentary by British filmmaker Randall Wright explores the vision of Jean Vanier and life in L’Arche. The film is set in L’Arche Trosly and L’Arche Bethlehem (in French and Arabic with English subtitles) with reflections by Jean Vanier (in English without subtitles). Summer in the Forest is not a L’Arche film, yet we seek to engage audiences with its positive messages as well as elements that might spark dialogue.
New York Times review: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/22/movies/summer-in-the-forest-review-documentary.html
Promotional material may also be found at http://www.summerintheforest.com/
Monday, April 30, 6:00 pm showings at:
- Calgary, Cineplex Odeon Eau Claire Market
Monday, April 30, 7:00 pm showings at:
- Halifax, Cineplex Cinemas Park Lane
- Montreal, Cineplex Odeon Quartier Latin and Cinéma Cineplex Odeon Cavendish Mall
- Ottawa, Cineplex Odeon South Keys
- Toronto, Cineplex Yonge-Dundas
- Oakville, Cineplex Cinemas Winston Churchill
- Sudbury, Sudbury Silver City
- Winnipeg, Cineplex Odeon McGillivray
- Vancouver, The Park Theatre
May 17 showing –Waterloo (near Stratford!) at Princess Theatre time tbd.
L’Arche Canada Statement on the film
Summer in the Forest
April 5, 2018
British filmmaker Randall Wright’s documentary, Summer in the Forest, will open in limited release in 9 cities in Canada on April 30, 2018. For a list of these and future screenings go to http://www.summerintheforest.com.
Summer in the Forest is an independent film made in cooperation with L’Arche Trosly in France (where L’Arche began in 1964), L’Arche Bethlehem, and Jean Vanier, the founder of L’Arche. Wright invites Vanier to share his vision for L’Arche and for humanity. This vision is illustrated through Jean’s life, and through the lives of several persons with intellectual disabilities and their companions in community. We are taken on several journeys of discovery – often slow, sometimes surprising – that build into a satisfying whole by the film’s final scenes of celebration.
We are grateful to Randall Wright and his collaborators for making this extraordinary film that welcomes people with intellectual disabilities into the centre of the story where they belong, and to the producer, Richard Wilson, and all who are working to bringing this film and the message of L’Arche and Jean Vanier to new audiences.
For over 50 years, Vanier’s vision has inspired countless people around the world to discover what it means to be human and live together in peace. In this film, the witness of his life and the profound joy that Vanier shares in his community after all these years give added power to his words.
From critical and audience response in the UK and US, we know that Summer in the Forest is connecting deeply with people unfamiliar with the lives of people with intellectual disabilities as well as those who are. It’s clear that Vanier’s vision of humanity and the witness of L’Arche are as significant as ever.
We are concerned about how individuals with intellectual disabilities are portrayed at times in this film. Vulnerability, inner pain, and mental illness are aspects of what it means to be human, yet they must be portrayed in ways that don’t reinforce the negative images and stereotypes common in society.
L’Arche communities in Canada do not live a hidden life in the forest. Some members may choose a quiet life, yet the vast majority are valued contributors to their neighbourhoods, networks of friends and family, and to the many work, school, faith, social, recreational, and other communities to which they belong.
In the stories we tell, L’Arche seeks to promote:
- Inclusion, making known the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities and their contributions to creating a more human society;
- Respect for each person, their history, beliefs, and choices for their lives;
- Our rich diversity while recognizing the challenges of living with difference;
- Recognition of our common humanity and need for one another;
- Relationships of mutual care and learning between people who are different; and
- The power of sharing life in communities of friendship and belonging.
People with intellectual disabilities have something to say and a right to be heard. L’Arche seeks opportunities for persons with intellectual disabilities to speak for themselves in their own words and ways of expressing themselves. When individuals don’t use typical forms of communication, we seek ways to ensure that their voice is heard.
The As I Am film series illustrates the L’Arche way of storytelling: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC21N_EDq0DTA1oZQPz-M-zA
L’Arche Canada invites you to watch Summer in the Forest and to invite others to join you. We encourage public dialogue on the concerns and the contributions of people with intellectual disabilities who are too often left out of the conversation. We also encourage dialogue about what it means to be human, to live with difference, and to belong in community.
You can join us in this dialogue through email (firstname.lastname@example.org), twitter (@larchecanada), or at screenings near you:
- What did you see/hear in the film that touched or inspired you?
- What did you see/hear in the film – or not see – that concerned you?
- What does this film say about the issues of Canadian society/the world today?
We’d love to hear from you.