The Masterworks series includes the classics in documentary filmmaking on world religions, spirituality and ethics. The Hartley Film Foundation is pleased to offer the following films on DVD and video:
A film by Menachem Daum and Oren Rudavsky
Seven years in the making, A Life Apart: Hasidism in America explores the world of modern Hasidism. From mystical tales to mesmerizing music, rebbes to Holocaust survivors, A Life Apart reveals a remarkable culture, full of joy, pain and rich tradition, that few outsiders have seen and fewer yet can imagine.
A film by Gerald Krell and Meyer Odze
To many Americans, the Asian religions remain full of mystery. Yet the presence of the Asian religions has been taking root on American soil almost from the country’s beginning. The Asian & Abrahamic Religions explores the beliefs, practices and rituals of Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism, and how practitioners of both these Asian and the Abrahamic traditions perceive each other, confront prejudice and stereotypes and develop mutual respect.
A film by Peter Gilbert and Steve James
At the Death House Door follows the remarkable career journey of Pastor Carroll Pickett, who served 15 years as the death house chaplain to the infamous "Walls" prison unit in Huntsville, Texas. During that time he presided over 95 executions, including the very first lethal injection. After each execution, Pickett recorded an audiotape account of that fateful day.
Tibetan Buddhists have long used lojong, or "mind training," to transform difficulties into insights. Buddhist nun Pema Chodron, a renowned lojong teacher and practitioner, shows the listener in this 7-hour, 6-CD set how to use painful emotions as stepping stones to wisdom, compassion and fearlessness.
A film by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson
Baraka is a breathtaking tour through six continents and 24 countries, which depicts the rhythms of man and nature and ways in which they live in harmony and violent discord. A glorious tone poem, the film cuts from solitary monks to crowded streets, from great temples and soaring landscapes to the dumps of Calcutta. The cumulative effect is moving, sobering and profoundly spiritual.
Fundamentalism has taken center stage as one of the most powerful forces in today's world, yet it remains incomprehensible to large numbers of people. In The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong, author of the best-selling A History of God, brilliantly and sympathetically dissects how and why fundamentalist groups came into existence and what they yearn to accomplish.
A compilation of documentary shorts
Compassion and understanding are tenets of all faiths. In today’s world, there is a universal call for tolerance, justice and charity. In other words … Belief Matters. Part of the Media that Matters collection, these documentary shorts showcase issues surrounding interfaith respect, human rights, and the environment. The subjects of these short films express belief in the future, belief in others and belief in themselves.
A film by Beth Murphy
"You choose your way into yourselves," is a most apt description of how two widowers manage their lives in the years following their husbands' deaths on planes that crashed into the World Trade Center on 9/11. They end up traveling to Afghanistan, where they meet with Afghani widowers. Both sides reach easily across the cultural barriers to share their similarities and, far more frequently, the vast cultural differences and inequities that often bring discord but, between these women, bring peace.
A film by Peter Bisanz
The spiritual beliefs and religious experiences of dozens of religious leaders, luminaries and politicians are revealed in this engaging documentary. With myriad landscapes and religious icons serving as a backdrop, director Peter Bisanz focuses the camera in Beyond Our Differences on dynamic and thought-provoking individuals: Father Kieran Creagh, the first person to take the AIDS vaccine, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, religious scholar Karen Armstrong, Sheikh Ali Gomaa, Grand Mufti of Egypt, musician Peter Gabriel, Congressman Christopher Shays of CT, Mohammad Khatami, former President of Iran, Rabbi Soetendorp, Founder of the Jewish Institute for Human Values, and many others.
Bonhoeffer tells the gripping story of a pacifist turned assassin. This new much-talked-about documentary follows German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his student days in Weimar Germany to his work in the illegal Confessing Church, from his escape to America in 1939 to his return into the eye of the storm: the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler. One of the most important theologians and ethicists of the 20th century, Bonhoeffer formulated his beliefs in the crucible of a long and ultimately fatal struggle with the Nazi regime.