“To err is human; to forgive, divine.”  We know this quotation from Alexander Pope, but do we realize its implications?  All of us carry the divine spark of forgiveness in our hearts.  We can neglect and quench this spark; but if we fan it ablaze, it will   bring light and warmth and healing into the world and into our own lives.  Can you think of a more likely setting for this to happen than an Esalen seminar? Forgiveness is an art that can be learned and practiced.  The better we understand ourselves, the more ready are we to forgive ourselves and others.  Films have a unique power to facilitate this process.

Rhapsody in August, video

Our film selection meets two criteria: one, aesthetic and the other, psychological.  The films we will see are outstanding examples of filmmaking from around the world, and they feature Enneagram types which model different approaches to forgiveness. You need not be familiar with the Enneagram; this is your chance to get acquainted with it.  Nor is it necessary that you are an expert on cinema.  All you need is a readiness to embrace the forgiveness of which W. B. Yeats wrote:

“I am content to follow to its source
Every event in action or in thought;
Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!
When such as I cast out remorse
So great a sweetness flows into the breast
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blest by everything,
Everything we look upon is blest.”

Films shown in this order:

  1. Wild Strawberries
  2. Marvin’s Room
  3. Death and the Maiden
  4. Les Miserables
  5. Dead Man Walking
  6. Cry, The Beloved Country
  7. East of Eden
  8. Rhapsody in August

Late-night bonus films:

  1. Autumn Sonata
  2. Sunrise
  3. Regret to Inform

See also: Twenty Favorite Films

Photo by Marcel Ardivan

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.