New film explores the spiritual paths of five women from varied backgrounds:
By Corina Bardasuc
The documentary Meetings with Remarkable Women is an inspiring film by up and coming director/producer Shawn Nevins, who previously directed the spiritually-themed documentary Closer than Close.
Filmed in 2010 and 2011, Meetings with Remarkable Women explores the spiritual paths of five women from varied backgrounds:
- Linda — an Australian spiritual teacher whose discipline of meditation led to a profound spiritual realization.
- Anima — whose childhood in India steeped her in spiritual traditions, but it took a journey to America before she realized her true desire was to find enlightenment.
- Jem — who lived the roles of wife, mother, engineer, musician, and writer before discovering Reiki and A Course in Miracles; paths that eventually led her to a spiritual awakening.
- Heather — from Christian to Atheist, Buddhist to free-form seeker of self-knowledge wrestling with meditation, self-inquiry, and prayer.
- Deborah — who, after the tragic loss of her husband, launched a years-long spiritual path through ancient Buddhist texts and the practice of Yoga that culminated in the discovery of a deep and lasting inner peace.
Each of these women tells of her life and how she came to be on a spiritual path, and what experiences brought her closer to the truth of her existence. What is truly ‘remarkable’ about these women is their willingness to practically experiment with different spiritual systems in order to find something that works for them. From meditation to poetry and writing, from yoga and music to self-inquiry, their methods are as varied as their personalities, and they inspire the viewer with their thirst for truth.
The most engaging aspect of the documentary is the women’s honesty in their personal search, and their sense of experimenting with different techniques in order to approach an abstract concept such as ‘enlightenment.’ How does one ‘search’ for an abstract concept with one’s feelings? How does one send one’s tentacles through the darkness, searching as if blind for something that is unseen? These questions are hard if not impossible for anyone to answer, yet the women in this documentary have managed to answer them for themselves.
The flow of the documentary takes on a meditative feel as the stories of each protagonist are connected by clips of a young woman reading poetry that reflects her spiritual longings and existential frustration. The feeling of honesty and sharing is pervasive through the entire film, and is an invaluable tool to anyone sincerely interested in a spiritual path, whether male or female. Women viewers will find inspiration and strength they never encountered before, and energy to continue on a path that other women treaded before them. The men who watch this film will find an emotional honesty and gentleness of spirit that may be sorely needed on their own spiritual path.
Meetings with Remarkable Women touched me as a viewer on several emotional levels: I found myself swinging from compassion and sadness to awe and fearlessness, as the women exposed their souls to the camera. The texture and depth of the documentary is woven by the women’s recounting of their lives and trials illustrated by snapshots from their past and clips of the places they came from. Director Shawn Nevins interlaces the women’s stories with clips of poetry and meditative musical scores, and he does so with the gentle grace of a Celtic monk illustrating an illuminating manuscript. In his effort to convey the women’s determination, vulnerability and openness on their path, he offers the viewer more than a revealing encounter, but a genuine work of art.
At the end of the documentary I was left feeling not only emotionally inspired, but also feeling calm and renewed, as if I had just participated in a meditation session myself. The quality of silence, which is evoked by ‘blank screen breaks’ in-between the different story chapters, reflects a seeker’s moments of silence upon the spiritual path, as well as giving us as viewers a break to contemplate what we have just seen.
This documentary is especially relevant to me, as young woman about to turn 30, still searching for the meaning of my life; embittered and hardened yet made vulnerable and broken open by personal trials and sorrows, I am more determined than ever to find ‘the truth’ on my spiritual path. At times I waiver, at times I give up. At times I shut down and never want to deal with the world again. But always, always I return, and persist on my path to find whatever it is that will make me ‘complete.’ Some of the remarkable women in this documentary have found it, and as such, they are invaluable resources and teachers to me. They are, like the stars in the sky, distant and yet ever giving in their inspiration to those who follow them with anxious hopefulness from the darkness of the earth.
Meetings with Remarkable Woman is available at www.poetryinmotionfilms.com or visit Poetry in Motion Films on Facebook.
Also a short trailer of the movie is available at: http://www.poetryinmotionfilms.com/remarkable.htm