Films which explore spiritual themes
and traditions have the potential to engage us in meaningful dialogue. They
reflect back to us the journey of the human spirit, inviting us to participate
in experiences we might not otherwise encounter. LIGHT uses
films to foster inquiry, raise awareness, and encourage growth and transformation.
Listed below in chronological order are all the films that have been shown at our Film Series events, which began in September 2004. An asterisk (*) next to the title indicates the film is available from the Lending Library.
In God’s Name: Wisdom from the world’s great spiritual
leaders (April 2010)
A National Geographic documentary which presents the intimate thoughts and beliefs of 12 of the world’s most influential spiritual leaders, offering their perspectives on myriad issues in our post-9/11 world, including the rise of terrorism, fanaticism, intolerance and war.
*10 Questions for the Dalai Lama (March 2010)
This documentary by the explorer and filmmaker Rick Ray examines some of the fundamental questions of our time by weaving together observations from his own journeys throughout India and the Middle East, and the wisdom of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.
*Gurdjieff’s Legacy: Establishing the Teaching in the West
This final video of the trilogy The Life and Significance of G. I. Gurdjieff documents Gurdjieff's teaching mission in the West from 1924 until his death in Paris in 1949.
*Ram Dass: Open to the Infinite (November 2009)
In his first public appearance after his 1997 stroke, Ram Dass joins with the singer Krishna Das in an inspiring presentation which demonstrates that the silence of the Spirit and the eternal chant of India both emanate from the same source.
*Abide As the Self: The Essential Teachings of Ramana Maharshi
Sri Ramana Maharshi was one of the most renowned spiritual masters of the twentieth century. This video (narrated by Ram Dass) takes you on an inner journey through his life and teachings.
*Gurdjieff’s Mission: Introducing the Teaching to the West (September
This award-winning second video in a trilogy details Gurdjieff’s relentless struggle to establish the ancient teachings of the Fourth Way in Russia beginning in 1912 and later in Constantinople and France.
*Meetings With Remarkable Men (April 2009)
Based on the spiritual classic by G.I. Gurdjieff, the film is the story of his search through the Middle East and Central Asia for answers about the meaning of life.
*Finding Your Life’s Purpose (March 2009)
Contemporary spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle presents the essence of his teaching: full engagement with the timeless present and alignment with the natural flow of life.
Two films on Tibetan Buddhism (February 2009):
*Requiem for a Faith
Professor Huston Smith, renowned expert on world religions, narrates this portrait of a Tibetan Buddhist society "that is so close to the sky, the natural occupation of its people is to pray."
Call It Karma
This inspiring true story chronicles the spiritual journey of a young Tibetan monk from his homeland through Nepal to India.
* Ashes and Snow (November 2008)
This film is part of an ongoing multimedia project exploring the poetic sensibilities of all animals and the shared language between animals and humans.
The Healing Power of Sacred Art (October 2008)
Acclaimed visionary artist Alex Grey discusses the power of sacred art for bringing us into contact with a divine reality, and how these works of art can be used to heal the human spirit.
Two films on the essence of meditation (April 2008):
Zen and Now - Alan Watts explores learning to live in the splendor of the eternal now
What is Meditation? - Contemporary spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle illuminates meditation with or without the use of practices and methods to realize who you are at the deepest level
Two films from the documentary series “World Religions” by filmmaker
Elda Hartley (March 2008):
The Art of Meditation with Alan Watts - a guide to stilling the mind and experiencing a deeper spiritual reality through the art of Zen meditation
Science and the Power of Prayer, with Dr. Larry Dossey and Joan Borysensko, Ph. D.
Three documentaries created by award-winning filmmaker Elda Hartley (February
The Perennial Philosophy - explores the universal foundation of the world's great religions
Taoism - traces the ancient origins of Taoist philosophy to modern day practice
Buddhism:The Path to Enlightenment - describes the Buddha's spiritual journey to awakening.
The Tibetan Book of the Dead (November 2007)
This 90 minute two-part film explores ancient teachings on death and dying. It was made over a four-month period on location in the Himalayas - where the original text still exerts a strong influence over people’s views of life and death. This film, by revealing ancient teachings on how to think about death and dying, can be a valuable source of counsel and comfort.
* Ram Dass: Fierce Grace (October 2007)
Once a symbol of ’60s counterculture and psychedelic drug use, Ram Dass has since become a renowned speaker and author on the topics of aging, spirituality and overcoming the mistakes of the past. This documentary chronicles the journey of Ram Dass from his affiliations with LSD advocate Timothy Leary, through his relationship with his guru Neem Karoli Baba, to his endeavour to continue remaking himself after his stroke in 1997.
* Eckhart Tolle: The Flowering of Human Consciousness (September
In this video, you come face to face with Eckhart Tolle, for a transformational meeting with this respected teacher and influential author.
Dreams (May 2007)
This film, one of the last by the Japanese master Akira Kurosawa, is a vivid tapestry of dream landscapes.
My Dinner With Andre (April 2007)
A dinner conversation between two men touches on the sublime, the ridiculous, and everything in between.
Little Buddha (March 2007)
The story of a young American boy who is believed to be the reincarnation of a revered Buddhist lama.
Steppenwolf (February 2007)
Based on the Hermann Hesse classic, this film is a masterpiece of psychological fiction. In the title role, Max von Sydow perfectly embodies the man who is torn between respectability and his wolfish, antisocial impulses.
2001: A Space Odyssey (November 2006)
Director Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 masterpiece is a classic of the science fiction genre - profound and visionary, and a powerful visual experience. Viewers are left to experience the non-verbal, mystical vastness of the film, and to reach into their own subconscious and into the film’s pure imagery to speculate about its meaning.
* The Matrix (October 2006)
At one level, a highly entertaining adventure movie with a psychological twist. At a deeper level, this film expresses a philosophical view common to many spiritual traditions - that the real world is beyond the mind’s ken, and to see the world as it is, you must step beyond the net created by your own mind.
* Say Amen, Somebody (May 2006)
An exuberant documentatary spotlighting the special world of American gospel music, containing performances by and interviews with many of the giants of this musical genre.
Born Into Brothels (April 2006)
Winner of the 2004 Academy Award for Best Documentary, Born Into Brothels is about the inspiring non-profit foundation Kids With Cameras. Most of the images in this film were created by the children of prostitutes, and capture the intimacy and colour of everyday life in the overpopulated sections of Calcutta.
* Ram Dass: Fierce Grace (March 2006)
See October 2007.
Travellers and Magicians (February 2006)
Written and directed by the Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoche Khyentse Norbu, this film spins two parallel stories that deliver one message: happiness can be attained simply by being in the present moment.
Koyaanisqatsi: Life Out of Balance (November 2005)
This classic 1983 film, with a haunting soundtrack by Philip Glass, presents a kaleidoscopic series of images showing the artificial environments which separate us from the natural world. Based on Hopi concepts, this apocalyptic vision attempts to reveal the beauty of the beast in which we are immersed.
* Enlightenment Guaranteed (October 2005)
A German comedy (with English subtitles) about two brothers who go to study at a Zen monastery in Japan, this film brings a different perspective to the search for enlightenment.
What the Bleep Do We Know? (September 2005)
With a combination of conventional plot, animation and interviews with scientists and other researchers, this unique film draws connections between individual human consciousness and the quantum level of physical reality. You may or may not agree with the film’s conclusions, but there is no doubt that it will expand your understanding of the human potential.
Yakoana (April 2005)
Yakoana was the authorized documentary of the First World Conference of Indigenous Peoples, held in the jungles of Brazil the week prior to the United Nations Earth Summit of June 1992, attended by nearly 1,000 tribal leaders from every continent on earth. It tells the stories of native cultures, of their struggle for recognition and human rights, and of their ancient ways of living sustainably and in harmony with the earth.
Babette’s Feast (March 2005)
Based on the short story by Isak Dinesen, this film explores themes of sacrifice and transcendence in the lives of two sisters and their mysterious housekeeper.
* Siddhartha (February 2005)
Based on the novel by Hermann Hesse, this is the story of a young Brahmin who leaves his wealthy parents to become a sadhu, a wandering ascetic. It is a glorious evocation of the Buddha, and of each person’s search for self-knowledge and the divine within.
The Seventh Seal (January 2005)
This landmark film by the great Swedish director Ingmar Bergman, released in 1957, deals with issues of death and spirituality that are ultimately timeless. Set during the Crusades in the 14th century, the film is a skillful blend of realistic drama and the allegorical - most famously, a chess game played against a black-robed figure representing Death.
The Cup (November 2004)
Set in a Tibetan monastery in Northern India, this film - directed by Khyentse Norbu, himself a Buddhist monk – provides insight into the spiritual life of Tibetan Buddhists in exile.
Baraka (October 2004)
This cinematic “guided meditation,” filmed in 24 countries on six continents, unites religious ritual, the phenomena of nature, and man’s own destructive powers into a web of moving images.
Waking Life (September 2004)
A highly original, visually innovative film about the nature of reality, dreaming states, human destiny, and many other things. This movie encourages you to question all your assumptions about the meaning of life and death.