Summer in the Forest (2018)
After Jean Vanier died last May at the age of ninety (September 10, 1928 – May 7, 2019), I discovered this documentary about him and the Founding of L'Arche in Trosly-Breuil, France. Vanier was eighty-seven when this film was made. The movie follows the people who live at the local L'Arche homes, and the simple rhythms of their daily lives—getting dressed, meals, shopping, a walk in the woods, a visit to the doctor, a picnic outing, and their local work projects. In particular, we are introduced to the three founding members of L'Arche back in 1964: Philippe (age 75), Michel (75), and Patrick (65). Today there are 149 L'Arche communities in 37 countries, including one in Bethlehem that is featured in the film. Vanier reminisces about those early years, and about what he has learned across the last fifty years. One of the great things about him is that he never romanticizes the problems of these people, their pain, darkness, anguish and wounds. Whenever we meet a severely handicapped person, says Vanier, they want to ask us just two questions. Do you consider me human? Do you love me? And so they challenge us to a relationship of mutuality. I watched this movie on Amazon Prime. Important note: there is a more recent film about Vanier called "Jean Vanier, Le Sacrement de la Tendresse" (2019), although I have not discovered where and how to watch it (see IMDB and https://www.jupiter-films.com/film-jean-vanier-le-sacrement-de-la-tendresse-96.php).
Dan Clendenin: email@example.com