Sponsored by Bria Watson
“There are many ways to express ideas, and eloquence is sometimes possible without words.” –Raymond St-Jean. This genre-bending documentary looks at the cultural legacy of America’s most successful utopian society: the Shakers. The Shakers were artisans and innovators, whose maxim ‘beauty rests on utility’ inspired the creation of minimalist furniture and architectural designs that influenced modern functionalism. Known to each other as the United Society of “Believers,” they lived a simple life, with an emphasis on work. Yet a profound spirituality imbued every aspect of their lives. They wrote work songs and spiritual hymns of exquisite beauty and danced to the point of ecstasy during religious meetings. Inspired by this music and dance, Finnish choreographer Tero Saarinen created Borrowed Light, a dance piece that explores communal life and individual sacrifice. Shot in Finland and the United States, the film features breathtaking dance sequences from Borrowed Light, music by The Boston Camerata, and footage from the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village in New Gloucester, Maine, the last active Shaker community in existence. St-Jean’s goal: “to make a simple, uncluttered film that stays focused on essentials.” The result: a stunningly beautiful – transcendent – documentary in word, song and dance.