March 27, 2020
Between stay-at-home mandates, tending to our families as well as ourselves, we may find ourselves craving pauses in our days. We checked in with Esalen Inspirational Film Festival Artistic Director Trina Wyatt for suggestions on “conscious” films to consider viewing that evoke a sense of heart, mindfulness and discovery. From deep spiritual messages and unconventional yet profound journeys to an eye-opening documentary, here are Trina’s suggestions for conscious cinema. Enjoy.
1. The Farewell
One of the most memorable foreign language films from 2019 stars Shuzhen Zhao (The Story of Ming Lan) and Awkwafina (Crazy Rich Asians, Ocean’s Eight) in a standout performance. The story chronicles a family that learns their beloved grandmother only has a short time to live. Rather than tell her about her fate, the family decides to conceal the news from her and decides to make the best out of what time remains. Heartfelt and touching, with just the right splash of comedy, the film illuminates the wonder, love and complexity of family in a beautiful way. Where to Watch it: Amazon or iTunes.
2. The Biggest Little Farm
Emmy Award winner John Chester (Super Soul Shorts) directs this Telluride Film Festival offering, which has won several audience and critic awards at film festivals worldwide. The story tracks John and Molly’s move to a 200-acre farm outside of the flurry of Los Angeles. Thought-provoking and well executed, The Biggest Little Farm offers a unique look at alternative living and what it’s really like to totally go “rural.” Where to Watch it: Amazon.
3. The Twelve
“This is quite possibly one of the most insightful and thought-provoking documentaries you will ever see,” Trina says “The Twelve gives a voice to the wisdom of 12 elders who each have an important message to share in hopes of helping humanity through the troubling times we currently find ourselves in. “What truly makes this film so remarkable is how unified the messages shared by each of these geographically and demographically diverse individuals are,” Trina adds, “and just how much their perspectives can impact our view of humanity.” Where to Watch it: Free on the film’s website.
Who doesn’t appreciate bees? Our honey-producing friends command the spotlight in this captivating documentary, which chronicles the life of the last female bee-hunter in Europe and her ongoing struggle with nomadic beekeepers. A passionate and well executed outing, the film won three awards at Sundance and is touted as a “must-see” for all ages. Where to Watch it: Amazon or iTunes.
5. Brittany Runs a Marathon
Jillian Bell (Bless the Harts, 22 Jump Street) generated buzz last year in this light-hearted comedy that isn’t afraid to go beneath the surface and explore underlying emotions associated with significant life changes. The story follows Brittany as she drastically changes to her lifestyle in order to participate and complete in the New York City Marathon. The film’s ability to deliver an important message—you can do anything you set your mind to and you have the ability to truly appreciate yourself no matter what stage in life you’re at—while still being genuinely funny, makes for uplifting entertainment. Where to Watch it: Amazon Prime.