This comment area is closed to new submissions. Visit ITVS.org to continue the conversation about this film.
I am deeply moved by your masterpiece of Downpour Resurfacing. I watched it, by chance, as I was surfing the tube and I was captivated by the black and white dance and the resounding words spoken by Robert Hall. I recognized that this film was unparalleled in its ability to communicate acceptance and forgiveness, and the process by which can transform ourselves into the best that we can be. By chance, I taped the film while watching this PBS program. I have shown it to many of my patients who have been abused, mentally, sexually and physically.Your film demonstrates the triumph of the human spirit and the resiliency of self in the strife for life's fulfillment and for the reckoning to become whole. For this I thank you on behalf of the many who have experienced similar assaults on their being and for those who have lived through it and found another higher purpose for the experience.
When I read my psychology texts and prepare for my next day of teaching, counseling, and coaching my patience, I often think of your work and of Dr. Hall's experience and thank you both for your ability to speak to our collective unconscious and to our quest of healing and becoming better. It is here that I can tap into the film's experience and help others who are suffering from abuse and the memories of the abuse.
I thank you sooooo much for your wisdom to produce such a valuable piece of film. I thank Dr. Robert Hall for the courage to share his experiences of life and growth. Please continue to make these most powerful films. Thank you for your courage and commitment to positive and remarkable growth and change. I am forever in debt to your generosity.
what we believe (our "core" beliefs)
what we tell ourselves
not knowing what we want
believing that happiness comes with
fullfilling our desires
bad self opinion
judement of ourself and others
believing we can control what
happens to us
not taking life as an experience
not "enjoying the ride"
fear of people
Alma D. Kesling
I turned the channel last night and caught this film from almost the beginning. I could not stop watching it. I'm unsure as to what drew me in and kept me watching, but my heart is still aching because of the content, even now after over 24 hours. His mother's words, "I did what I knew," were so honest. How wonderful he must've felt hearing them.
When i watched this film, I was surprised. I was surprised that a little boy could be hurt so badly by so many people, including his mother. I was surprised that after going through this kind of trauma, anyone can ever be whole. I was surprised that he was not angry but instead he was at peace. I was surprised at how angry i was. I was surprised that i was surprised. More than anything, I was happy that this story was shared because not only did it touch me, it changed me, and made me realize that i could persevere anything, anything at all, and i would still be whole, and i could still find peace through the power of art.
This film was amazing - I kept thinking throughout - 'he is talking to me'... I have heard other speak like this, but I have never experienced it. I wanted to see how much it cost to buy the film, but was afraid to look. I was amazed when I went to the link and found it is only $19.00.
This is proof that art combined with a powerful sense of one, and other's, own humanity can heal. Thank you.
Watching this film on a lonely Sunday night was life changing. I too was sexually abused and Robert Hall's peacefulness and ability to see the abuse as propelling his creativity is astounding. When he was able to forgive his mother and by her saying she did what she only knew healed my anger too. Thank You Frances for this wonderful film. It has helped me and will always be remembered.
San Diego, CA
I was truly stunned as I watched this beautiful film. I couldn't hold back my tears as I watched and listened to the story of my life. The comfort I felt knowing I was not alone or "Strange" for having feelings such as Robert Hall described was like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I was tortured and raped by neighbors involved in the occult from age 3 to 6 who in turn taught my older brother to molest me at home as well. When Mr Hall described how he fell in love with his abuser, all the questions of the rejection I felt from my brother pushing me away as a child and even as an adult became so clear. After watching this film I am inspired and have even more hope that I am on the road to recovery and one day I will be able to live every single moment in the present without fearing the unsafety of my past. I don't believe in coincidences, I know God had me see this film at this time for a reason. I am an actress, dancer,singer, and poet, and I use all of these mediums to process pain, release it and hopefully inspire the countless others who have gone through abuse as well. Much thanks to Mr. Hall and the filmaker for bringing light and hope and reality for others in the various stages of their healing journey!
As Robert Hall began to speak of his experiences, tears began to freely flow from my eyes. In his retelling, I heard my own story reflected back to me. Having just recently come to terms with my own sexual abuse after years of sublimation, his sense of peace gave me hope. Hope that there is something beyond the pain, that in time I too may find my true self to be worthy of love.
As an artist, I have in the past shied away from delving too deeply into my subconscious for fear of unleashing what I saw as a flaw in myself. The dark parts that would make me unlovable if others knew. I am inspired now to pursue this avenue in addition to the body work that initially released these memories in me.
I have been resisting communication with my mother regarding the abuse. I know that is something that can be put off no longer. It is a part of the healing process. The journey to wholeness seems much more attainable now.
My thanks go out to both Richard Hall and Frances Nkara for presenting this amazing film that others may come to understand and heal.
I wish to thank Robert Hall for making his story public through Frances Nkara.
I am also a survivor of child abuse who suffers daily from anxiety and shame.
Now in my early 40's I often wonder if I should choose to continue on or not. The fact that Robert made it through it all gives me hope that I will make it through as well.
Mari K. Schofield
Please tell me where R. Hall speaks! He is amazing. What a sparkle. I can completely see the gorgeous little boy in him shining right through his eyes. I was "possesed" by him saying "harness the energy" I was mesmerized. The film itself was visually hypnotic. I wrote a book, and it is from the deepest most beautiful agonizing pain I know; my eating disorder. The Healing (true tales of a food addict)Trafford Publishing.This is my lifes work to shout it from the roof tops that you need not be ashamed!I will always cherish that child in me that is warped damaged crazy and totally lovable. I have learned to love myself like Mr. Hall in all of my parts and that is good enough for today. Terrific movie and human being.
New York, NY
First of all I am a firm believer that the Univers will send us the answers that we need, when we are ready for then. Well this film was an answer to a lot of things that even I myself did not know I was in need of. I am a professional dancer, choreographer and dance teacher. As an artist myself I ad my voice as to the power that the art has to offer healing and inspiration to men. I love the art immages that were used in this film. Especially the immages of the dancer. The dance itself shows the physicality of pain that is felt so often by people like me whoare survivers of sex abuse. The dance shows the unique beauty that exists in the off balance of things. The dance is a clear presentation of the truth that some of the most healing answers, just like in the dance, are found in those moments of fall and recovery!!!
I just wanted to say thanks again to Robert Hall and Frances Nkara. Downpour Resurfacing has shown me there is dignity and beauty cloaked within the shame inside of me.
Art gives a voice to each individual's truth. Artistic expression is life-affirming throughout recovery and a powerful tool for healing.
The images and footage Ms. Nkara used helped to provide a time and social context but I found the timing of the images agitating in places causing me to become momentarily distracted from Dr. Hall's spoken words. I would like to see the whole interview with Dr. Hall without the images. He came across as a person very much at peace with himself and the past.
Fear is the barrier to happiness I see in myself as an adult surviror of childhood sexual abuse and rape in my early 20's. I found Dr. Hall's explanation of the use of anxiety and dissatisfaction in survivors of early childhood trauma something I could relate to. Today I feel I have a bit more understanding of myself. Kudos to the filmmaker Nkara and to the subject of the film, Robert Hall.
I read through the comments of other viewers of PBS who had the chance to hear Robert Hall's voice. It still strikes me and leaves me anxious to think that child abuse is so common.What strikes me even more is the complexity of our psyche that Robert Hall revealed to me. It seems that when our emotional well-being is disturbed by abuse, the path to get better has no end.The "monster" that we fight against is always changing shapes and becomes equipped with new weapons, sometimes weapons that we develop in our own defense.It leaves us one step behind each time we try to reach for happinnes.I would like someone to help me make a step in the right direction and battle my anxiety.
Ft. Myers, Florida
Even though you did not see the abuse in this film it was just as reading a book in the vision that leaves you with the smell of the dirt floor described. I am looking foward to more films that are a help in such hard and powerful issues. I rejoiced in a sense at the end of this film, because the abuse made him stronger, know himself better, and did not stifle his life or change him into someone incapible of a productive life.
As a survivor myself, this struck such a cord with me. I often felt and thought the same things and am still strugling to survive. I deal with the fear everyday. I have found a wonderful mate, that I trust, and love and have children with, this has saved me. My children being born made me feel cleansed, and innocent again. I know that I wouldn't be the strong person I am today with out the abuse that I encountered, so for that and that alone I am thankful. I am thankful that I know Love, Understanding and Beauty exists in the world. In the end, it could have been worse, but I still struggle, and am baffled at times at the difficulty of life after abuse.
My sister came to my house this morning. She never comes to my house in the morning as we both have young children that need to get to school before we begin our own full-time jobs.
She sat at my kitchen table and began to describe a program she watched last night on PBS. She turned on the program to watch another story. She was falling asleep when a voice woke her from inside the television and rendered her fully awake and in awe.
As she sat there at my table, she began to cry and often had to stop talking.
The impact that "Downpour Resurfacing" had on her left me in tears. She thought Robert Hall was speaking directly to her about turmoil in her own life. For the first time, she felt someone understood what she's been feeling for years. For the first time, what she's been feeling was out there in words, in the air.
She wanted to share this with me (and another sister) because as a very close-knit family we know some secrets (yet not all) and know how we each struggle to put it all in perspective and try to lead normal, productive lives.
I purchased this video for her as today is her birthday. She'll pass it along to all of us.
I wanted Robert Hall to know how much his story meant to all of us. I haven't even seen the film yet, but knowing that my sister feels just a little bit healed by his contribution fills my heart.
Thank you, Robert Hall and Frances Nkara. I'm anxious to see the film myself.
Question 1: I firmly believe that art can serve as a means to work through and heal our wounds. The process, be it poetry, writing, acting, dance, the visual arts, film all can be conduits for working out the pain ful parts of our lives. I've used photography and the process of searching for and seeing the unseen as well as listening to the unspoken to awaken my depths and push me toward healing the wounds of my childhood and early adulthood.
Question 2: Frances Nkara's use of the imagery is a masterful application of visually expressing our inner dreams and turmoils. It worked so well evoking the feeling of Dr. Halls words. The openness of his revealtions coupled with this imagery was a beautiful balance in telling this story.
Question 3; I think fear plays a very big role in keeping us from experiencing happiness. We're afraid of happiness. Our society is so entrenched in a culture of fear that we don't feel comfortable feeling happy. The messages we are so often given is that we're not worthy of being happy, and we should feel guilty. Fear and guilt for me are barriers to happiness.
Syracuse, New York
Hall is very articulate about a very difficult subject to talk about. I appreciated his monologue style developing the progression of his woundedness and recovery along with psychological insights to help explain what happens because of these traumas. Watching the fantastic video while listening helped me to stay centered during material that could easily make me anxious and turn the channel. The Asian-ethnic male dancer was particularly powerful during very painful parts of the narrative and gave an expression to both Hall's and my feelings in the moment. The blurry parts of the video were very poignant during the blurry parts of Hall's experience. I particularly value his comment that we don't get attached to the painful feelings per se but to the story we tell ourselves around those feelings. It gave me a handle and some hope and motivated me to write this. I can see from Hall's own story how a new story can be told that includes space for being happy no matter what the trauma or its consequences.
Yes, art is healing and Hall's film is helping me do that. Many thanks.
I was deeply moved and inspired by Robert Hall's account. Obviously, there had been a lot of introspection and effort made for him to have come so far. Kindly congratulate him for me! I wish to hear his words again and again. He is such an inspiration!
Wonderful job Frances. It takes someone like you to make something wonderful like this happen. Paired with PBS you create an educational tool for America that needs to exist if we are to move forward at all. These and more accolades are yours. Please make more films.
Rodney J Green
I enjoyed the show as i was abused when i was young by my mother not sexually but mentaly and abusively. I have done the same i always let on that every thing was great. I am still unable to undestand it but when Roberts mother said that was all she new i can relate to that as that is what my mother said to me. I have a brother who went through the abuse also. It is amazing how it is so true that now it is just a story that we have carried with us for so long and that it has controled our live in relationships with family and just about everyone we meet. How sometime we would love to tell someone when they ask how our life was growing up and we say great but know it was not and we end up beleiving that it is truesomedays and otherdays we know it is not. I hope someone responds to my message on this that we can understand this way of life that we have traveled through. Thank You PBS for that program.I would love if i had the chance to give my story of the abuse my brother and I received in our childhood years.
I still holding back all my secrets...
I watch it and in so many ways I saw "me" the little girl inside of me that still hurting, and nothing I can do take that pain away. Something that still ringis in my mind, is the last words spoken by your mother,"She did what she knew". That opened my eyes to understand why my mother just sat there and closed her eyes. She did what she knew.
Thanks for sharing your life story and in some way helped me to understand a tiny part of my own.
Incredible! What a gift this documentary was to me? Emotionally moving; Thank You!
As a Survivor of childhood abuse I have used much of my adult life seeking 'healing and recovery'. I've just began to realize that LIFE, in the NOW, is the healing and recovery I seek.
Robert Hall's words and life experiences express this concept so clearly with Frances Nkara's amazing footage assisting Hall and his story.
My wish is that everyone working through recovery issues would be able experience this film.
I would like to begin by saying how incredibly riveting this film was for me. I was just flipping through the channels with the intention of having some tolerable backround noise while drawing or websurfing and I happened to encounter the introduction for this film. I have watched this pbs program before and enjoyed it though I can't recall any specifics of those films. I am happy to say that Downpour Resurfacing will never be the subject of such a comment, as this film commanded my full attention, initially with the beautiful images and soothing voice of Robert Hall and then the actual message Mr. Hall was giving. His story was so applicable to my personal experiences in life that I felt transported to a different state of being while watching this film. I don't know how else to describe the impact of the experience. I am grateful to the filmmakers and Mr. Hall. I wish to meet Mr. Hall or someone like him as I believe it would help me to find answers to my obstacles and to discover a path to happiness and resolution. I guess by watching the film in some way I have met him but if he is privvy to these talkback entries I would be so thankful to correspond even only briefly with him. Thank you for a wonderful film, maybe the most amazing film I have seen. Incredible. I am left with a sense of hope, and an optimistic new perspective on my potential and existence.
Palm Desert, California
Robert Hall made the journey we all must one day, someday, somelife make, art certainly serves us through the consciousness or un-consciousness of the filmmaker or artist as for healing we are all healing or hiding and throughout time and storytelling art has served humanity by delivering from the unconscious the truths we desperately hide from and only which can make us whole.
I think Frances chose to project images at our unconscious while Robert talked to our conscious mind.
Born into pain, first breath of air reaching the lungs awakened into incarnated life, it has been said that birth is the prototype of all anxiety. Born dependent on parents and caregivers to nourish us and keep us alive, dependent on a psyche that is split off at birth, dependent on a world of other split off psyches and so it is so early in earthly life dissatisfaction becomes manifest. Like hamsters on a wheel from birth to death we run chasing imagined pleasures and running from pain thinking happiness is for other people while trying to manufacture our own in little bits of time and the journey back to the beginning is alas the only way off the wheel, back through the guilt, the shame, the false images, false gods, the hurts, the hates, the failures, the lies, the deceptions, back to waiting unconscious, back to the waiting Light within us and let the healing begin.
Loved your film about Robert Hall. His story is my story; the abuse and the healing.
The use of imagery motifs, and the juxtaposition of those motifs (and their inverses, reverses, etc) formed a compelling "visual soundtrack" for Mr. Hall's words. I found the entire visual experience to be almost inducive of a meditative trance, at which my brain really became bilaterally able to absorb the graceful presentation of Mr. Hall's soft but powerful honesty.
This piece, happened upon by sheer chance, may have inadvertantly found a percussive impact in my life where many other techniques and paradigms had failed. With tears barely held back, I want to thank Mr. Hall and Ms. Nkara for their amazing collaboration and work.
thank you for making this film. i was a victim of child sex abuse . the abuse was by my father from ages 4 to 12 . unlike robert hall i refuse to forgive my mother. my mother knew of the abuse. my father also use the church in twisted ways. so , i grew up scared of god and of the church.
Wow, what a horrendous childhood this man had. My thought was, "Thank the Lord that I did not go through what he had gone through in his life." This story reminded me of the extreme depravity that is in all of mankind. What happened to him could just as well happen to any of us, except for the grace of God, because there is great evil in the minds of men. The Bible calls it the "Sinful Nature." What this gentleman needed was an encounter with Jesus Christ to lead him into greater understanding and healing. There are no real answers in human understanding to this sickness in mankind. Only in God and His grace can forgiveness and freedom be found for the human disease of sin.
*It does, absolutely. I am a survivor of 15 years of sexual abuse with physical/emotional abuse continuing for another 15 years. Today, at age 53, I find that writing songs and poetry have many times provided the catharsis needed to move forward-and have touched the souls of others, which brings me great joy! Seeing others find freedom from my writing gives me a sense of 'making sense' out of senseless acts.
*There is no rational way to portray such an irrational act such as the abuse of a child. By using the images she chose, one can see the disjunction that occurs between the physical and spiritual parts of a child that is abused so heinously.
*Anxiety is a huge barrier for me, it does seem to be encoded in my very cells, as Mr. Hall said, but trust and shame, feeling as though I were somehow to blame for the sins committed against me are the most difficult things for me to overcome. My writing, though, has given me hope that I too can create something good in this world, out of the chaos that was my life for so many years.
What an absolute irony that of all days, in the midst of a breakthrough in dealing with the aftermath of childhood abuse and two rapes in my early twenties, tonight I ran across this program and related so completely with the explaination of the anxiety and fear and all the issues, reoccuring behaviors and guilt. I most certainly feel hope in knowing these symptoms are not uniquely my own and hope to find out more about Robert Hall and how he came to his realizations and recovery. This could be information that will help me to reach the otherside of my grief, what a miracle and not a day to late, oh how I have suffered. Thank you PBS, Robert Hall and the film makers.
Bell Buckle, TN
Art has helped me to express myself and in it I can experience the viewing of my own expression.It has often captured the very essence of what I apparently know but have not consciously been able to fully realize. Art brings depth, which challenges me to gain a deeper understanding on my healing path.
I believe Nkara understood Hall's story and was able to show the wide range of emotions and states of varied contemplation a survivor experiences during different stages of one's healing as well as the fact that at times one can experience them all within a short period of time. My family came home as I was viewing this film and my spouse and child asked in a bewildered way "what is this you are watching?". It made perfect sense to me.They became engrossed in the film.
I agree that anxiety is an obstacle to happiness but for me it has been the continued social stigma and denial of sexual abuse of my extended family that contributes the most in my personal struggle for happiness.I too have found that sharing my story publically and openly has given me and others the freedom to truly enjoy the precious moments of existence and living-truly living. I am grateful for the capturing of Hall's laughter in the end of the film. It was so pure and who he is meant to be.
In answer to the first question I am an artist, a painter and I know that art can have a cathartic and healing effect.
In answer to the second. The images insistance, repetativeness along with Hall's words and experience brought about a realization. I saw how many of the "rituals" I employ to get to work each day are purposeful. I was comforted by this understanding and sense of company and fellowship. The tea ceremony was extrememly helpful and the face of the woman was beautiful.
As to the third...I agree that anxiety and dissatisfaction are big players in my life. the persona that I developed and the struggle to make it work. Acceptance. Somehow Ican't answer this any better but there is something in acceptance. Repetition has led me to some peace. My work is flourishing, it wasn't always so although I always worked.
Thank-you, thank-you. I have never taken the time to respond to anything like this. I am getting better, becoming happier. I am very grateful for all of your work.
Yes, artistic expression helps a lot. No matter what it is. Dancing, bodywork and sewing have been my expressions. I was abused by my brother in law at age 16-22. These artistic expressions have probably allowed me to go on living. I love the images Nkara chose. I could relate to all of them and they seemed to fit so appropriately to the subject matter. Forgiveness of oneself often is what stands in the way of happiness. I once heard that the definition of happiness is gratitude. That is so for me. the experience of being abused does help to form one's sense of self and survival. Therapy, art, my children and bodywork have helped to set me free. Every moment that I can feel gratitude whether it be for my children, my grandchildren, a quilt I made, a sunny day, a day I'm not sick from chronic illness....I cherish and I am even grateful for the things my abuser taught me about the world and myself. This documentary felt like coming home to me. Thank you for sharing it...
As a sexual abuse survivor, I found this film very healing and full of hope. It does a wonderful job of addressing sexual abuse and how it affects individual survivors. This is the best thing I've ever seen on sexual abuse. I was able to just relax and cry while watching the film, and I feel better now.
I write poetry and have been a child of a dysfunctional family that has gone through much healing since my adolescence. It's hard to let yourself feel relaxed and still in mind and thoughts enough to allow yourself to write honestly. Any creative expression is a form of accepting your hurt and healing from it through the artform. Now, this documentary and Robert Hall's healing has reminded me to attend poetry readings as a part of my own healing process, and one day I would like to read my own personal poetry. God willing, that will be soon.
Answer to question 1: Yes, poetry helps, writing helps, expression helps. It is a release and puts onto paper or something outside the mind/soul what has happened and is kept inside.
Answer to question 2: For a person who cannot relate to abuse or admit that a male can be sexually abused, sadly it has to be forced open, in this case, via film.
Answer to question 3: In the case of a person who has been abused, a barrier is the feeling that at any moment any happiness can be ripped away. It can be done in five minutes. The trust factor is a huge one.
It is good to see that a person can survive without becoming a monster himself. I was raped when I was four by a neighbor and it went on for about a year and a half. Then later by two of my older brothers and when I was 11, by my father. The beatings I endured too.
Today I am 45, have three kids and I have taught my kids what to watch out for.
But I understand how pretending while growing up helps one to survive. I think as an adult I made my own mistakes, but never ever the mistake of abusing a child. The thought repluses me. I am glad to see someone took the time to document a survivor.