David Cherniak’s new Retreat movie premieres next week-end. Here’s a note from him about it…
RETREAT, a feature documentary I just finished will get it’s world premiere at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, Monday Jan. 28 at 8pm in the historic Arlington Theatre. It seats 2000+ so bring your friends.
From the press kit:
“RETREAT follows the trials and tribulations, the agonies and ecstasies, of 35 Westerners as they attempt an intense, eight-week, silent, meditation retreat in Thailand led by the American Buddhist teacher, B. Alan Wallace. Some are experienced mediators, some are beginners. The practice they’re attempting is shamatha, or calm abiding, stilling the mind with sustained, one-pointed, concentration…simple enough sounding…but extremely difficult to master without long term withdrawal from the world…and considered to be an essential step on the path to full enlightenment.
Alan Wallace teaches Shamatha through a Buddhist understanding of the nature of consciousness and contrasts that understanding with the prevailing materialist paradigm of modern neuroscience where consciousness is an emergent property of the brain.
The film follows the retreat from start to finish. We see it through Alan’s eyes and through the difficulties experienced by four of the retreatants who record video diaries. Tension arises when one retreatant begins to have a sustained, psychotic episode and things threaten to come apart. Afterward they come together in new and touching ways.”
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