MY SOUL DRIFTS LIGHT UPON A SEA OF TREES (NL/Japan 2018, 65 minutes)
A documentary by HEINRICH DAHMS and MICHELE AIME
A coproduction by BUZZMEDIA NETWORK and KRO-NCRV
Zen Buddhist priest Ittetsu Nemoto has spent most of his adult life offering support for individuals struggling with depression and suicidal behavior. Operating from a small Zen temple in the mountains of the Gifu Prefecture, Japan, where he holds regular Buddhist retreats, he has helped hundreds of individuals rediscover the beauty of life after years in the darkness of limbo. This is the story of Ittetsu Nemoto and three people who found life after limbo.
By closely observing each individual through the intimate details of their daily lives and their interaction with the central character, Itettsu Nemoto, we witness complementary perspectives on the related phenomena of suicide, loneliness, despair, bereavement and, ironically, the urgent desire to live.
Despite the taboos surrounding suicide in Japan, our characters speak candidly about the events in their lives that made them long for death so intensely.
Their harrowing stories are only bearable because we can see that, for a large part, they’ve managed to get their lives back on track — thanks to the inspirational and broadminded priest.
His holistic approach — incorporating singing, dancing and meditation – seems to have a great therapeutic effect.
Ultimately this is a documentary film about the paradox of wanting to die, yet desiring nothing more than to live a fulfilled life.