Since the beginning of film, the many varieties and facets of love have enthralled audiences and evoked deep longings, pleasures, and fears. This collection of films explores love in film along two dimensions. First, we explore the different kinds of love relationships: parental, friendship-based, romantic, and spousal. Second, we discover the polarities inherent within love: passionate/compassionate, obsessive/detached, fulfilled/unrequited, and comic/tragic. By viewing these feature films from the silent era to the present, we deepen our capacity to appreciate the meaning and value of relationships as described by Thomas Merton: “Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone — we find it with another.”

Films shown in this order:

  1. Titanic (clips shown)
  2. Pather Panchali (part of the Apu Trilogy)
  3. City Lights
  4. Twenty-Four Eyes
  5. The African Queen
  6. The Magic Flute
  7. Wuthering Heights
  8. Letter from an Unknown Woman
  9. The Bridges of Madison County
  10. When Harry Met Sally
  11. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg
  12. Shadowlands
  13. Babette’s Feast
  14. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  15. Love Among the Ruins
  16. Casablanca

Bonus films

  1. Vertigo
  2. The Misfits

See also: Twenty Favorite Films

Photo by Jaddy Liu

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.