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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Little Buddha



This week's movie from the library was the 1993 film by Bernardo Bertolucci, Little Buddha, starring Chris Isaak, Bridget Fonda, and Keanu Reeves ...

Tibetan Buddhist monks from a monastery in Bhutan, led by Lama Norbu (Ruocheng Ying), are searching for a child who is the rebirth of a great Buddhist teacher, Lama Dorje (Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen). Lama Norbu and his fellow monks believe they have found a candidate for the child in whom Lama Dorje is reborn: an American boy named Jesse Conrad (Alex Wiesendanger), the young son of an architect and a teacher who live in Seattle. The monks come to Seattle in order to meet the boy ...

The monks give the little boy a book about the life of Buddha (Siddhartha) and when he reads it, the movie shows what's happening, with Keanu Reeves as Prince Siddhartha. Eventually the monks convince the boy and his father to return with them to Bhutan to be tested, along with a couple of other candidates from Nepal.

Roger Ebert really didn't like it and gave the film 2 stars out of 4 ...

Let's begin with a not exactly hypothetical question: If you were approached by a Tibetan monk, in robe and sandals, who explained that your 10-year-old child is a reincarnated Buddhist teacher, and if the monk invited your child to Tibet, how would you react? No plausible answer to that question is contained in this movie. Instead, Bertolucci creates a Seattle family which, in its own way, is more unreal than any of the more spiritual families in his story.

This is why I like to get movies from the library - I don't feel any pressure that they be especially good in the conventional sense because they're free ;) But anyway, you might need to be interested in Buddhism or Tibet to find the movie worth a watch, but I thought the locations/sets (like Swayambhunath) were interesting and having read Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse, I was wondering how Keanu Reeves would be as the prince. And did I mention there were monkeys? :) ....



Here's a trailer ...


3 Comments:

Anonymous Richard said...

How can you go wrong with monkeys. It's been a while but I think I liked the movie. That approach to selecting religious leadership while exotic and mysterious has always had a compelling quality. What if we picked the Pope that way :) We went to see Tebetian monks prepare a sand mandala at Trinity Cathedral in Sac a few years ago. Beautiful to watch, gut wrenching when they destroy it in the end. They did give everybody a little packet of sand to take home though.

1:24 PM  
Anonymous Richard said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g16B64myG-E

1:31 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Neat video!

Yes, sand mandalas are so fragile. They remind me of the Navajo sand paintings. I was looking that up and found a wikipedia page on all the different cultures that do them - who knew? :)

2:15 PM  

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