“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek.”

Dalai Lama XIV

This film seminar from 2016 offered aims for a mindfulness experience of cinema: The group viewed feature films in which inspiring characters embody positive psychological qualities (compassion, courage, forgiveness, gratefulness, wisdom, serenity). Learn about the films shown by clicking on the title hyperlinks below.

The film collection includes seven great Japanese films — chosen for their potential to engender mindfulness — alongside seven Western films. The Japanese films are directed by Ichikawa, Kinoshita, Kurosawa, Ozu, Takita, and Koreeda. The Western films are directed by Bergman, Chaplin, Dörrie, Kubrick, McCarey, and Malick.

Films shown in this order:

  1. Twenty-Four Eyes
  2. City Lights
  3. Red Beard
  4. Paths of Glory
  5. The Harp of Burma
  6. Rhapsody in August
  7. Ikiru
  8. The Seventh Seal
  9. Make Way for Tomorrow
  10. Tokyo Story
  11. Cherry Blossoms
  12. After Life
  13. The Tree of Life
  14. Departures

See also: Twenty Favorite Films

Br. David Steindl-Rast
Francis G. Lu, M.D.

Francis G. Lu, M.D.

About the author

Francis G. Lu, M.D., is the Luke & Grace Kim Endowed Professor Emeritus in Cultural Psychiatry at the University of California, Davis. He co-led more than 20 film seminars at Esalen with Brother David Steindl-Rast from 1990 - 2016.

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.