Downpour Resurfacing

Addressing the repercussions of child sexual and physical abuse
Year Released
Film Length(s)
28 mins


Dr. Robert Hall generously opens his own story of child sexual and physical abuse to convey how he transformed their repercussions into a life of confidence and peace. Offering emotional wisdom and analytic clarity from his decades of personal and professional experience, Hall inspires hope in abuse survivors and other trauma victims alike. The intricate, lyrical imagery powerfully conveys the story as dreams do, echoing Hall's heritage and innovation in somatic therapies.

Featured review

Downpour Resurfacing is the most positive, thought provoking story of child sexual abuse and the subsequent healing I have ever seen...I strongly recommend it.
Jennifer Rauhouse
CDC Trainer & Consultant for the National Sexual Violence Prevention Guidelines


Downpour Resurfacing conveys Robert Hall's rekindled sense of self and strength as he recounts his childhood sexual and physical abuse. A noted Buddhist teacher, innovative psychiatrist in body-mind therapy, and poet, Robert lays out his experience with exceptional clarity. Where grief and hatred might otherwise take root, Robert speaks without shame, illuminating peace-making responses to intrusion and betrayal of all kinds.

The documentary interview with Robert is juxtaposed with images and sounds that evoke a dream world, where the traumas take hold and can be transformed. The sense of disconnection and double life that develops from hidden childhood trauma echoes through a dreamscape of black and film collaged and overlapped, slowed and sped, like memories under duress. Country houses and rain set the surreal scene as mother and son hang out their laundry to dry. Sustaining soup is offered, but tea is poured to overflowing, as caretakers neglect their roles. His deep compassion glows as he reveals this assault neither in denial nor stuck in the necessary anger, but set on revealing the path to freedom from its violent hold. Breaking down memory blocks and denial spurs the need to find peace with the pain. Dancers communicate in movement and rhythms the trauma and its thawing as bodies hold and release it. The power of repetition moves us through to peace.


Brilliant, thoughtful, and heartrending, Downpour Resurfacing offers a tearing story of drama and the healing rain of wisdom.
Jack Kornfield
author of A Path with Heart
Robert Hall's wisdom, clarity and courage is elegantly presented in this small but exquisitely made film. A lifetime of struggle and transcendence is movingly condensed into a mere 28 minutes in a film that inspires and heals, and does so with exceptional grace and beauty.
Sheila Bienenfeld Professor
San Jose State State University, California
It's scary to think of where overwhelming anxiety and obsessive compulsions come from, especially when listening to the words of Robert Hall, a man who, within this short piece, tells of how at 32 he discovered that his anxieties were born of his childhood abduction and sexual abuse, both of which he had repressed the memories of.Robert Hall's story floats over a collection of black and white images, some found and others shot specifically for the piece, which include dancers seemingly spinning out of control, a little boy helping his mother with household chores and an elderly Japanese woman methodically preparing tea. These images, as striking as they are, serve only as a backdrop for Hall's words. Never do they distract from his story, but rather compliment it.Thankfully, Hall's story does present some light at the end of the tunnel. He offers hope to viewers who struggle with their own anxieties, perhaps from a childhood trauma, that they will be able to lead a normal life if they learn how to focus on their fear, understand it and ultimately whup that fear's ass, resulting in somewhat of a rebirth.Downpour Resurfacing has a lot to offer its audience. It's an experimental film that matters.
Film Threat
Film Threat
...In circumstances bizarre and heartbreaking, this was not to be for Hall. A physician, therapist and poet, he is also the cofounder of Santa Rosa's Lomi School and Lomi Community Clinic. Devoted to somatic therapy, in which touch is applied to heal emotional wounds locked fiercely into the flesh, the Lomi technique is world-renowned for its breakthrough interdisciplinary approach to therapeutics--just as touch brought about an astonishing breakthrough for Hall...Though he remains mostly offscreen, Hall's calm, resonant voice very carefully chooses the words to describe his childhood of abuse, while Nkara, using a mixture of archival tea ceremony sequences, modern dancers moving with spiky frenzy, water overflowing in bowls and cheery mother-and-son '50s footage, creates a singular world in which the details of Hall's story may settle and dwell...
Gretchen Giles
for Metroactive
...When Robert Hall was 3 1/2, he ran away from home. Two blocks later, he was abducted and sexually abused. When he was 11, he was sexually molested by a 22-year-old male baby-sitter he came to love. Such tales do not sound like the makings of a film about art, creativity and healing, yet that's what the documentary Downpour Resurfacing, by San Francisco filmmaker Frances Nkara, leaves you with.The film, part of PBS' Independent Lens series, is a first-person retelling of the story of Hall, who lived in Tomales Bay at the time the film was made. Sitting in what looks like his study, the then-66-year-old poet, psychiatrist and body-worker speaks in an honest, heartfelt way about his ordeals, and the sometimes-unexpected ways they affected him...
Stan Sinberg
for the San Francisco Chronicle

Awards and Screenings

Features and Languages

Film Features

  • Director's Commentary
  • Transcript

Film/Audio Languages

  • English

Subtitle/Caption Languages

  • Spanish

Promotional Material

Promotional Stills

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