Storyline


Why did you make this film ?

The documentary project A Quest for Meaning stems from the growing realization, among citizens across the world, that Western society is trapped in a downward cycle leading us to destruction, injustice and frustration rather than harmony and well-being. The pressing need for financial profit has taken over, to the detriment of the common good, and of common sense. This predatory mentality has now become the norm, and is casting a shadow on the future of all.

To get out of this downward spiral, it’s not more knowledge, more technology, or more economic growth that we need. What we need is more common sense and more insight - in a word, more wisdom.

How It All Began

When Nathanael goes to visit Marc in New York, it's been 10 years since they've last seen each other and their lives are totally different : Nathanael has just finished working on an environmental film in India, and Marc exports water for a large global corporation…

One day, a small accident brings Marc's « American dream » to a halt. Stuck in bed, he watches a series of documentary films on globalization that Nathanael had left behind. From that point on, Marc's conscience begins to nag. He gives up his career plans and goes to join Nathanael in India, where they will begin their impromptu, epic journey.

The Quest

Armed with nothing more than a tiny camera and a microphone, they will attempt to uncover the causes of the current world crises and discover a way to bring about a change. From India to Guatemala, from San Francisco to southern France, and across Europe, their whole world will be transformed.

Full of incredible testimonials, moments of doubt and moments of joy, their journey encourages us to reconsider our rapport with nature, happiness, and the meaning of life. 87 minutes to help us regain confidence in our ability to bring about change within ourselves, and within society.

Key concepts

Self-Awareness, Anti-globalism, Ecology, Environmentalism, Spirituality, Urban Agriculture, Eco-friendly Agriculture, Democracy, Oligarchy, Interdependence, the “Joy of Simplicity”

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Main characters

  • Vandana Shiva

    Vandana Shiva

    Vandana Shiva, world-renown Physicist, Epistemologist, and Doctor in Quantum Theory, is one of the foremost figures in Anti-Globalism. In 1993, she was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, also known as the alternate Nobel Prize. She has worked to protect small farmers in the face of the expansion of global corporations in the food and agriculture industry. She and Satish Kumar are the founders of “Navdanya”, an association dedicated to conserving and protecting biodiversity as well as peasant seed traditions. The Navdanya farm has trained more than 10 000 farmers in organic farming techniques.

  • Satish Kumar

    Satish Kumar

    Once a Jain monk, Satish Kumar renounced his vocation as a student, in order to join Gandhi’s agricultural reform. In 1961, he became known for his 12,000km peace walk against nuclear weaponry undertaken entirely without funding. Today, he is Editor in Chief of the magazine Resurgence, as well as Program Director at Schumacker College. Far from the cartesian logic that divides everything, Satish Kumar has a holistic vision of the world and encourages us to relish the simple joys in life.

  • Pierre Rabhi

    Pierre Rabhi

    Originally from Algeria, Pierre Rabhi is one of the world's pioneers in Eco-friendly Agriculture, a holistic approach to agriculture and human life. For the past 40 years, Pierre has cultivated a rocky terrain in the Cévennes - a dry, arid area of southern France - as an alternative to industrial agriculture. His unique life experiences have led him to write about his rapport with happiness and the modern world. He has initiated a number of social movements in France, including Terre & Humanisme and Colibris.

  • Trinh Xuan Thuan

    Trinh Xuan Thuan

    Trinh Xuan Thuan, a world-reknown Astrophysician, has become known by the public through his books, including The Cosmos and the Lotus. He was awarded the UNESCO Kalinga Prize in 2009, and is dedicated to informing the public about the Universe and the philosophical issues around it. His cultural heritage has led him to adopt a vision of the world based on Buddhism and the concept of Interconnection. He appreciates, as do his readers, the beauty and the complexity of all living phenomena.

  • Arnaud Desjardins

    Arnaud Desjardins

    Director of the French Office for Television and Radio (ORTF - Office de radiodiffusion-télévision française) from 1952 to 1974, Arnaud Desjardins was one of the first to introduce the great spiritual philosophies in France, such as Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, and Afghan Sufism (a mystic branch of Islam). At his ashram in Hauteville, France, where he passed away in 2011, he gave teachings on Self-Awareness as inherited from his teacher Swami Prajnanpad. Dedicated to spreading these schools of thoughts through to the general public, he is the author of a large number of books and encourages us to broaden our minds, do away with compulsive thought, and fully embrace the present moment.

  • Frédéric Lenoir

    Frédéric Lenoir

    Philosopher, Sociologist, and expert in the History of Religions, Frederic Lenoir is Editor in Chief of the magazine « Le monde des religions ». He has published more than 40 written works, including essays, encyclopedias, novels, and short stories, all of which have been translated into approximately 20 langages. He also writes material for the theatre, the cinema, and for comic strips. He has been involved in the Eco-friendly movement for many years now, and encourages us to revolutionise the world in order to heal it.

  • Samdhong Rinpoche

    Samdhong Rinpoche

    Anche conosciuto con il suo nome laico Lobsang Tenzin, Samhong Rinpoche è stato il primo ministro del governo tibetano in esilio a Dharamsala, in India. Inoltre è stato nominato Presidente del Parlamento tibetano in esilio e Direttore dell'Istituto Centrale di Studi Superiori Tibetani a Benares in India. Tutore e maestro spirituale del prossimo Dalai Lama, il professor Samdhong Rinpoche è noto per la sua profonda conoscenza degli insegnamenti buddisti e degli scritti del Mahatma Gandhi.

  • Hervé Kempf

    Hervé Kempf

    Hervé Kempf is a French journalist and writer, whose involvement in the Ecological movement includes a clear, lucid interpretation of the powers that be. In his opinion, democracy has given way to an Oligarchy incapable of dealing with the current ecological and social crises. He encourages us to rethink our beliefs about wealth and democracy.

  • José Luis Tenoch Perez

    José Luis Tenoch Perez

    This Aztec healer travels throughout Latin America giving traditional teachings to the indigenous peoples. His message encourages us to see past our own selfish desires and to live openly and honestly with others, without « camouflage ».

  • Bruce Lipton

    Bruce Lipton

    Dr. Bruce Lipton, Professor in Molecular Biology, has taught at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin and has conducted breakthrough research at the Stanford University School of Medicine. His research on the cellular membrane is a forerunner of Epigenetics, a « new science » that studies the influence of the exterior environment on genetics. A world-renown public speaker, Bruce Lipton is best known for his innovative work « The Biology of Belief », dealing with the impact of psychological phenomena on the human body.

  • Cassandra Vieten

    Cassandra Vieten

    Cassandra Vieten, Doctor in Clinical Psychology, is the Director of the Institute of Noetic Science in California, co-founded with late astronaut Edgar Mitchell in 1973, to investigate human potential. Dr. Cassandra Vieten's research, as well as her articles and books, deal with Self-Awareness and the influence of our emotions on the body. At the Institute, she has developed a method based on Intersubjectivity geared towards high school and middle school students.

  • Tim Jackson

    Tim Jackson

    Tim Jackson, an Economist in search of a sustainable solution to the problem of growth and decline, was once assigned Manager of the « Sustainable Development Commission » on growth potential by English Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Just before the meeting of the G8 in London, this Commission produced a report banishing the concept of growth as we know it today. Tim Jackson's book « Prosperity Without Growth » is a major milestone in the social transformation about to take place.

  • Jules Dervaes

    Jules Dervaes

    Jules Dervaes is an urban gardener who, together with his family, has been cultivating a 400m2 garden behind his home since 1994. Thanks to this intensive organic agricultural project, they produce 3 tons of organic fruits and vegetables year, and are 90% autonomous in the summer. Joy and togetherness are at the very heart of their lifestyle, and they participate actively in the national campaign supporting this type of agriculture.

  • Marianne Sébastien

    Marianne Sébastien

    Marianne Sébastien, founder of Voix Libres International, has been awarded several prizes for her humanitarian efforts. Trained in the fields of Social Work, Education, and Literature, she has led an exemplary career as a Vocalist, Vocal Therapist, and Business Manager (Femme Entrepreneur 2007 - Female Entrepreneur 2007). Her dream of building a joint, loving community of young people from the mines and the streets has become a reality : in 20 years, more than 950 000 men, women and children have succeeded in transforming miserable life conditions into a positive outcome.