On Thursday, July 21 at 6:30 p.m., Rockland Public Library will present a film and discussion of “The Dhamma Brothers” in the Friends Community Room of the library, 80 Union St.

Behind high security towers and a double row of barbed wire and electrical fence live more than 1,500 prisoners, many of whom will never again know life in the outside world. But for some of these men, a spark is ignited when Donaldson Correctional Facility near Bessemer, Ala., becomes the first maximum-security prison in North America to hold an extended Vipassana meditation retreat, an emotionally and physically demanding program of silent meditation lasting 10 days and requiring 100 hours of meditation.

“The Dhamma” Brothers is a documentary about this prison meditation program. The film is directed by Jenny Phillips, a cultural anthropologist and psychotherapist; Andrew Kukura, a documentary filmmaker; and Anne Marie Stein, a film-school administrator. Music for the film is by Low, New Order and Sigur Rós. The film concentrates on four inmates, all convicted of murder. It also includes interviews of guards, prison officials and local residents.

“The Dhamma Brothers” dismantles stereotypes about men behind prison bars as it closely follows and documents the stories of the prison inmates at Donaldson Correctional Facility as they enter into this arduous and intensive meditation program. Director Phillips also released a book based on follow-up letters with the inmates, titled “Letters from the Dhamma Brothers: Meditation Behind Bars.”

A post-film discussion will be led by Warren resident Jonathan Purington. Special accommodations for persons with disabilities can be made with 48 hours notice by calling 594-0310.

This evening is one in a continuing series of literary, film and cultural offerings sponsored by the library and Friends of the Rockland Public Library. Admission is free.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to dernest@villagesoup.com.