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Buddhism in Film: Why Has Bodhi Dharma Left for the East?

January 24, 2017 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

This four-week series from the Denver Film Society investigates Buddhism in film. The series will look at two Korean films that explicitly, and beautifully, visually portray monastic Buddhism in Asia today, and two films set in America which seem to carry significant Buddhist themes and references in surprising ways. Viewers are invited to consider the films as related pairs that highlight those themes through their very different perspectives.

•Week One: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter … and Spring (Kim Ki-Duk) This beautiful Korean film sets a traditional Asian and monastic introduction to Buddhism in the context of a narrative that explores notions of desire and the cyclical Buddhist notion of history.

•Week Two: Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis) A clever and popular American comedy, the film explores similar questions of desire in a story that cleverly considers the possibility of improvement of the self within the cycle of life. Pairing these films enables us to discuss both the movement of Buddhist concepts into American culture and the way that a Buddhist outlook can serve as a critical lens revealing elements in a film.

•Week Three: Why Has Bodhi Dharma Left for the East? (Day Young-Kyun) This quietly powerful film meditates on questions of suffering, death and Buddhist vocation. It parallels Spring, Summer … in many ways, dealing with a master, apprentice and child in a remote monastery, but with much less interest in explaining Buddhist tenets.

•Week Four: Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (Alejandro G. Iñárritu) A satirical black comic/drama, this Academy Award winning film engages questions about the meaning of identity and vocation.

Professor Jeffrey Mahan, who teaches religion and film at Iliff School of Theology, and Wm Jeavons, a long-time Zen meditator and chaplain, pose these questions for each other and the class about how film might illuminate Buddhism for us:

Is Buddhism simply the subject of film, or are ‘Buddhist films’ created by writers and directors whose ways of seeing or being in the world are inspired by Buddhist ideas or practice?

Can Buddhism supply a critical lens through which we might view and understand movies: Is it then a perspective, applicable across the board?

Could both of the above be true?

[$10 – $12]

More info and tickets: https://secure.denverfilm.org/tickets/film.aspx?id=29030&FID=90


January 24, 2017
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Sie FilmCenter
2510 East Colfax
Denver, CO 80206
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