Impermanence and the Forest| 24mins
Director: Gregory Gutenko | Producer: Gregory Gutenko
Focus Years: 2008 | Country: United States
This personal documentary is a synthesis of several spiritual retreats to a "forest of peace" to find respite from the mediated tempos and occlusions of mainstream civilized life. Structured into five "days", "Impermanence and the Forest" chronicles the escape to, immersion into, distraction within, attuning with, and regression from the "sane asylum" provided by a contemplative refuge in the woods. This video diary mixes both objective and abstract images and sounds to metaphorically evoke shifting and transitory spiritual states. Acts of walking, seeing, listening, and searching mingle throughout in an effort to be effortless; in an action plan to be without plans. Enlightenment remains dark. As with most retreats with an agenda, there are certain phases that can be counted on: initial decompression and long naps, leisurely studies and regard of surroundings, flooding memories and dreams. Perhaps a few fleeting moments of mindfulness. Or a desperately sought-for epiphany? "If you meet the Buddha in the forest, kill him."