Downpour ResurfacingDownpour Resurfacing
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The Film

Left: Abstract image: close-up of dancer's hands holding cloth pieces; Middle: Abstract reversed negative image (white on black) of dancer; Right: 1950's image of mother and child looking out window
"Brilliant, thoughtful, and heartrending.... A tearing story of drama and the healing rein of wisdom." -Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart
Filmmaker Frances Nkara first met Robert Hall on a weekend meditation retreat. Hearing him improvise a talk, she was struck by how bravely and generously he spoke about the sexual and physical abuse he suffered as a young boy. "At 66, Robert had found a way to relate to the experience openly and beyond the necessary stages of anger," Nkara says. "I sensed that he was not in denial, but had truly found peace with it." She decided to create a film to tell his story.

At the age of four, Hall was kidnapped and went missing for days. His family sent a search party and found him alone and half-naked in a shed. It was 1938. As Hall explains, his family "decided that the best thing to do was to let me forget the whole thing, and everybody ignored it. They didn't even call the police." Traumatized, Hall stopped talking for a year. His mother felt guilty about the incident and often whipped him to the point of bleeding. When Hall was 11, his family's hired hand began sexually abusing him–an abuse that continued for years. Feeling alienated from the rest of his family, he secretly fell in love with his abuser. As a young child these events were confusing and overwhelming, and Hall repressed the memories of his abduction until he was 32 years old.

Unfortunately, the terrible events that happened to Hall while he was growing up are not isolated occurrences, but part of a larger social epidemic. One in four women and one in six men report having experienced sexual abuse. Many suffer in denial or silent fear of being seen and shunned as damaged. They struggle wondering if they will be haunted for life, and often question if such a life is worth continuing. Nkara believed a film about Hall would help address the issue through the experiences of someone who had come to terms with it personally.

In DOWNPOUR RESURFACING, Hall's reflections on how to handle such intense pain interweave his stories with nurturing insights. In a montage of found footage and new film, a tea master pours, cleans and offers in a repeating ritual; a dancer performs; a mother and son do household chores. In haunting black and white, the film features the spoken words of Hall as he relates his experiences with simplicity, clarity and compassion. Over his words, Nkara uses images and sounds to evoke a dream world, where both beauty and pain exist in half-hidden memories. Hall explains how he grew up with a "created" personality, living a double life by burying the trauma and hurt of his childhood. By breaking down memory's blocks, the film spurs the need to find peace within abuse.


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