May 4, 2010

Alms – A New Documentary Short from the Filmmaker of Amongst White Clouds

This from Wendi Adamek on The Buddhist Scholars Information Network (HBuddhism):

I’d like to alert the community to a new film that looks very good for classroom use.

The filmmaker’s name is Ted Burger, director of Amongst White Clouds, a beautiful film about living Chinese hermits that was selected for a number of prestigious film festivals. He writes:

“I’m writing to tell you about a new film I just finished I think you’ll find interesting. It’s the first of an on-going series of academic short films I’m producing on Buddhist life in China. It’s called ALMS, and it is a portrait of life within a Chan Buddhist monastery, seen from the perspective of the kitchen! The film deals directly with gardening, cooking and ritual surrounding meals in a Chan community, while also serving as general introduction to Chan monastic life. The trailer and webpage cover more details. I’ve attached a flier and you can visit the website here: http://www.commonfolkfilms.com/ALMS.html I’m hoping to keep this series going with more films about lay Buddhist life, monastic precepts, Zen and tea, a Chan nunnery… etc. Anything that serves educators well as a complement to lectures and readings.”

From the blurb on the web site:

“ALMS is a cinematic tour through a remote mountain Chan/Zen Buddhist monastery in Southern China. Student audiences are guided by the community’s Head Chef (典坐 _dianzuo_) as he explains the traditional cultivation, distribution and ritual offering of food in this traditional Buddhist community. We follow the gathering of local fuels and farmed vegetables, and witness how living members of this community work in harmony with elements of their physical environment to provide the supportive infrastructure surrounding the Meditation Hall (禅堂 _Zendo/Chantang_), where a group of cloistered monks devote themselves to meditation practice.”

Find out more about the film and watch a trailer here.

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