Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy


Rafael 1 Tue, Oct 13, 2015 4:00 PM
Sequoia 1 Wed, Oct 14, 2015 2:30 PM
Film Info
Section:Valley of the Docs
Focus: Lit Flix
Running Time:81 min
Premiere Status:World
Director:Haydn Reiss
Producer:Haydn Reiss
Dominic Howes
Screenwriter:Tom Lemmer
Cinematographer:Mark Traveler
Editor:Haydn Reiss
Steve Fischer
James Gowdey
Print Source:Zinc Films
Note Writer:Jeff Campbell


Poet Robert Bly stands out even among the celebrated, revolutionary generation of American artists who burst forth in the 1950s, and this loving documentary by Haydn Reiss (Rumi: Poet of the Heart, MVFF 1998) charts his singular path from second son to taciturn father on a wintry Minnesota farm to radical anti-Vietnam War activist to wild man of the 1990s men’s movement. The bespectacled, white-haired Bly is every inch the politically and spiritually engaged mystic, seeking each moment’s fervid heart as well as the eternal, intuitive bedrock beneath our cultivated ideologies and “personas.” He was one of the first to translate Pablo Neruda, Rumi, and the ecstatic Sufi poets, and his work with Joseph Campbellexploring the metaphorical, psychological terrain of myth and ritual—led to the unexpected pop culture phenomenon of Iron John. A confounding whirling dervish, Bly’s life embodies the quest for personal honesty and shared truth.

Featuring Coleman Barks, John Densmore, Jane Hirshfield, Martin Sheen, Gary Snyder, and more.

Co-presented by Buddhist Film Foundation

Additional Information

Beginning in 1994, Haydn Reiss has made a series of documentaries on poets, including William Stafford & Robert Bly: A Literary Friendship (1994) and the award-winning Rumi: Poet of the Heart (MVFF 1998). Reiss’ 2009 film Every War Has Two Losers was a 2011 winner at the Canadian International Film Festival and an official selection of the 2011 United National Film Festival. In a previous life he worked as the director’s assistant on the psychological thriller Jacob’s Ladder and on Oliver Stone’s JFK.