- Number of discs: 1
- Run Time: 138 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- ASIN: B000CCR5WW
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 207,574 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)
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Indian born filmmaker Pan Nalin makes his directorial debut with this sensual, elegant look at sex and spirituality. Tashi (Shawn Ku) is a gifted young monk who is just completing three years of solitary mediation in the mountains. Sporting long hair and a scraggly beard, Tashi is roused out of his deep mediation and brought back to his monastery by his fellow monks. There he rests up to recover his strength, returning to the usual rigors of monastic life. Though he is highly revered for having attained a profound level of enlightenment, Tashi is surprised to discover the sudden awakening of his own sex drive. While blessing the annual crop, he encounters beautiful peasant girl Pema (Christy Chung) and immediately he falls in love. Arguing that to properly renounce the world he would have to experience it first, he leaves his order and eventually marries Pema. This film was screened at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival. A spiritual love story set in the majestic landscape of Ladakh, in the Himalayas, Samsara is a quest: one man's struggle to find spiritual enlightenment. A caravan of Lamas journey across the mountains, on a mission to return a brilliant young monk named Tashi (Shawn Ku) to his ancient monastery, after three years of solitary meditation. Brought out of a deep trance, Tashi unexpectedly experiences a profound sexual awakening, and falls in love with Pema (Christy Chung), a beautiful young woman. Tashi, questioning the spiritual values of his monastic existence marries Pema quitting the monastry, for the promise of Samsara, the world. Together they discover the bliss of sexual union and the joys and sorrows of possession. But Tashi is unprepared for other aspects of everyday life and he realises that life in Samsara is far more complex than he ever imagined But his destiny turns, twists and comes to a surprise ending.
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Top Customer Reviews
The film is one more representation of the dilemma of the Buddha, torn between a life on this world, with a family and a kid, and total devotion to his spiritual development. It is a dilemma that knows no obvious or final solution.
I admit I was also struck by the intense eroticism of several scenes, which in my view is entirely appropriate for a movie about Buddhism, a philosophy that does not condemn the pleasures of sex. It is also particularly appropriate for a movie shot in India, where Buddhism and Hinduism (the religion that produced Kama Sutra) have interacted for centuries.
The final part of the movie is also telling: the protagonist's wife, Pema, invokes Yashodhara, Buddha's wife. While the world has identified with Buddha's plight and dilemma for millennia, no one ever seems to care about her, who in the end pays the heaviest price for the choices of her husband.
Acting is good, and Christy Chung lives up to expectations. The scenery is breathtaking and it alone justifies watching this film.
And upon re-watching it again, it slows itself down. It speak personally to you, reviewing and guiding you through your most recent life trials - spiritual, emotional, sexual, sociological, economical, psychological, personal, relational, philosophical challenges - and reveals how they have served to bring you closer to harmony. All the while as if it was a guru, not a media projection.
Attempts have been made to overcome this predicament: renunciation, self-abnegation, transcendence, often through seclusion and isolation from the world (hence the creation of monasteries). Attachment to this world and worldly things is thought to be the root cause of suffering, the creation of ego and what ego feeds on — demands, acquisition, possession, ownership, power. And, worse, enough is never enough. The manic demands of ego are endless, resulting in anxiety, frustration, dissatisfaction, depression.
A beautiful visual image of samsara is found in Disney’s Fantasia (of all places), with music by the French composer Paul Dukas. Goethe’s famed sorcerer’s apprentice is Mickey Mouse. Fed up with fetching water by buckets to fill a cauldron (at his master’s request), Mickey magically commands a broomstick to do the work for him while the master is absent. At first all goes well and Mickey takes it easy, falling asleep. In the meantime the broomstick works frenetically, splashing water all over the floor and flooding the room. Mickey can’t remember the spell to make the broomstick stop, so instead takes an axe to it, splintering it in pieces. For a moment the solution works, but then the splintered fragments come to life. Hideously, an army of mindless, pail-carrying broomsticks carries on the work remorselessly and Mickey is swept down a whirlpool. He nearly drowns, only to be saved when the master returns to break the spell.
So that is the problem: how to break the spell, stop the wheel, get off, be free from suffering.Read more ›