Summer in the Forest (PG)
2017 ( UK | France | Palestine ) ( Documentary )
( French with English subtitles )
DIRECTOR: Randall Wright
STARRING: Randall Wright
Summer In The Forest is an affectionate and joyously uplifting portrait of Jean Vanier, a philosopher and former Canadian Navy officer who appears as close to a living saint as you can imagine. It is more than 50 years since he formed the commune L’Arche in a forest near Paris. He wanted to create a place where people with learning difficulties could live in peace and safety, pursuing independent lives but with care and help nearby.
It sounds like common sense but in the 1960s his ideas were revolutionary and challenged Victorian notions of locking people up in asylums. This tender-hearted documentary presents fond memories of the elderly residents and celebrates this gentle haven of compassion. The costs for such care must be high but the sheer humanity – of the man, his staff and his appreciative but quietly liberated charges – absolutely shines through. Viewing should be compulsory.