July 29, 2009

Movie review: Dalai Lama Renaissance

Dalai Lama Renaissance could be considered a study in irony.

Forty men and women: scientists, artists, and philosophers, gather as “The Synthesis Group,” with the goal of holding a week long conference, then presenting their ideas for solving the world’s problems to His Holiness.  Almost from the start, intellectual chaos ensues, resulting in a movie that borders on Mony Python-esque in its absurdity. Egos almost immediately come out on the first day of the conference and begin to interfere with the intent of the gathering.  Not only do the members of the group not really listen to one another, they don’t really listen to His Holiness when he recommends against a boycott of Chinese products and investments, which is their solution to the world’s crises after a week’s worth of rather spirited debate. (Their other idea is to form a council that would, in essence, rule the world, with His Holiness at its head. He very quickly and firmly takes a pass on that.) In fact, at one point, when a “witness” to the group’s work points out that the Dalai Lama specifically stated that he was more concerned with all of humanity than the Tibet issue, the “witness” is told “that’s not a point of order.”

Shortly thereafter, the focus of the discussion becomes who will be granted a singular audience with the Dalai Lama and for how long as about half of the group feels that they as individuals hold the key to the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, and that no one else but they can deliver this oh-so-important message.  (Also intriguing to hear is the rather creative usage of “compassion” by those who seem to be exhibiting it the least.) Dalai Lama Renaissance is an interesting portrayal of human ego pitted against compassion and altruism, exemplifying the very essence of the issues facing the world today.

From Wakan Films, narrated by Harrison Ford, available from the Dalai Lama Renaissance website at a 15% discount.

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BobWeisenberg Jul 30, 2009 3:25am

What a fascinating review! You really got right to the heart of the matter. I'm going to post this link on my Yoga Journal blog for discussion.

Now that I've experienced a few of your reviews, I'm anxious to go back and catch up on all the others.


Bob Weisenberg (http://www.myyogabook.wordpress.com)

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Todd Mayville

Todd is a single dad of four diverse and lively kids, and is an English teacher and climbing team coach at a local public high school. A rock climber, cyclist and avid reader, Todd also practices yoga and meditation as often as he possibly can, which helps him stay at least a little centered and sane.