Imagining the Feminine in Film

by Francis G. Lu, M.D., and Br. David Steindl-Rast


Since 1990 Dr. Francis Lu and Brother David Steindl-Rast have led annual 5- or 7-day film seminars at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, California.  Films on a particular spiritual theme
(such as Healing Through Gratefulness) are shown and discussed, focusing on the participants’ personal experiences. "Imagining the Feminine in Film"
was the theme in 2010.

“The one-sided patriarchally masculine value-canon of occidental consciousness and the fundamental ignorance regarding the essentially different female and feminine psychology have contributed in a major way to the crisis of our time. Hence, understanding the Feminine is an urgent necessity not only in order to understand the single individual
but also to heal the collective.“
-Erich Neumann (1952)
Drawing and photos of womenDescription:

The Feminine has been imagined in film by screenwriters, directors, actors/actresses and the film audience since the beginning of the cinema. In this seven-day seminar, we will view and discuss about 15 feature films that evoke in the participants—both male and female-- aspects of the Feminine: heroine, caregiver, waif, lover, anima among others. The Feminine will be revealed in the play of consciousness seen in film, theater, country singing, radio and television shows among other settings. The seminar will explore female relationships with men and women, gender roles and gender identity through active imagination stimulated by the films and discussion.

Films shown in this order:

Queen Christina (1933)
King of Masks (1996)
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Vivre Sa Vie (1962)
The Red Shoes (1948)
Charulata (1964)
Love and the Goddess (1988) From Joseph Campbell and The Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell in conversation with Bill Moyers on the Goddess (30’ from Episode 5)
Monsoon Wedding (2001)
The Joy Luck Club (1993)
Children of Paradise (1945)
All About Eve (1950)
All About My Mother (1999)
Volver (2006)  
A Prairie Home Companion (2006)
Tootsie (1982)
The African Queen (1951)


See other film themes:

Twenty Favorite Films from the Esalen Film Seminars 1990-2011

Twenty More Favorite Films

Healing Through Gratefulness,
Exploring Nirvana and Salvation in Film,
Learning to Forgive,
Renewing Integrity Through Film: The Vision of Truth,
Exuberance, Creativity and Delight in Film,
Renewing Wholeness: The Spiritual Experience of Viewing Great Films,
Families in Film: Now and Forever,
Intolerance, Social Justice & Reconciliation,

Wisdom and Compassion,
Films Envisioning a Hopeful Future
Guiding Lights in Film: Inspirations to Live By
Transformative Journeys in Film: Awakening to the Eternal Now