Several media sources recently published reviews of the documentary film, “Summer in the Forest” and characterized it as “filmmaker Randall Wright’s gentle, loving portrait of a man with those same qualities. ” This reference is to Jean Vanier, Canadian advocate for the developmentally disabled. In 1964, Vanier founded L’Arche (The Ark), an organization that provides community homes for people formerly dismissed as idiots or relegated to insane asylums.
Although a portion of the film is a biography of Vanier, its primary focus is on the inhabitants of Val Fleuri, as told through the stories of five residents, Michel, Andre, Patrick, David, and Sara. The documentary film stresses the point that “real fulfillment is not to be found in money or power, but in relationships built on love, respect, humor and human dignity.” One movie critic summed up the documentary calling it “a feel-good film that actually reaffirms one’s faith in humanity.”
In 2015 Vanier was presented with the Templeton Prize, which is awarded annually “to honor a living person who has made an exceptional contribution to affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.”
Click here for an overview of 2015 Templeton Award presentation to Jean Vanier.
America Media’s review of the movie is available here