Okanagan Screen Arts film a gentle haven of compassion

Summer in the Forest screens July 2 at the Vernon Towne Cinema

Bonnie Anderson

Special to The Morning Star

Okanagan Screen Arts Society is pleased to present Summer in the Forest July 2. This is a tender documentary which shows an insight into the handling of special needs persons and how they might be treated in a much better way by society than they are currently.

Like many others up until the 1960s, Philippe, Michel, Andre and Patrick were labelled idiots and locked away and forgotten in violent asylums. A young philosopher, Jean Vanier, took it upon himself to secure their release. This was the first time in history that anyone had beaten the system.

A commune called L’Arche was created at the edge of a beautiful forest near Paris, sparking a quiet revolution. Vanier, who is now in his 80s and still at L’Arche, is revered by some to be a living saint. Vanier has discovered something that most of us have forgotten. This is the ability to be happy, foolish and most of all, human; to forget the rat race of society and to make new friendships.

Among the ancient trees of L’Arche, the people who live there welcome the film crew into their lives. They will tell the truth in a candid and uninhibited way. This is done with an effortless naturalism that has nothing do to with acting.

In this film Michel reveals his war-torn past, Andre is lonely and desperate for a date, and David proves himself in a fight against the forces of evil. There are some very gentle scenes which raise big questions.

Summer in the Forest screens at the Vernon Towne Cinema July 2 at 5:15 and 7:45 p.m. A pre-show intro by resident filmmaker Matt McDowell and live music before the early show by Les Copeland are also on offer. Advance tickets are available at the Bean Scene or Towne Cinema box office.


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