A couple of e-mails came through a while ago about a new film and accompanying book called The Dhamma Brothers. If you check out the website, you'll find the following synopsis:
The Dhamma Brothers documents the extraordinary convergence of an overcrowded, understaffed maximum-security prison -- considered the end of the line in the Alabama correctional system -- and an ancient meditation program. East meets West in the Deep South.
Donaldson Correctional Facility is situated in the Alabama countryside southwest of Birmingham. 1,500 men, considered the state's most dangerous criminals, live behind high security towers and a double row of barbed and electrical wire fences.
Yet within this dark environment, a spark was ignited. A growing network of men was gathering to meditate on a regular basis. Intrigued by this, Jenny Phillips, cultural anthropologist and psychotherapist, first visited Donaldson Correctional Facility in the fall of 1999. She planned to observe the meditation classes facilitated by inmates and to interview the inmate meditators about their lives as prisoners.
As she met with the men, one by one in the privacy of an office, she was drawn in by their openness and willingness to talk freely about themselves. High levels of apprehension, distraction and danger characterize their lives as prisoners. Even though many of these men will never be released from prison, they were thirsty for meaningful social and emotional change. What she heard there was difficult to forget. It left her wondering if it were possible to live with a sense of inner peace and freedom within the harsh, violent prison environment.
Currently, there are screenings scheduled in New England, Washington State, Illinois, Oregon and Ohio. The following two could potentially work for those of us who live in metro Detroit (if we can stomach the cost of the gas to get there):
June 14 & 17
THE GENE SISKEL FILM CENTER
164 No. State St.
Chicago, IL 60601
THE CLEVELAND CINEMATHEQUE
11141 East Blvd
Cleveland, OH 44106
I'm seriously considering the trek to Cleveland in August... might make a weekend of it and take Ksanti to see the Rock hall.