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Thread: Good Movies/Documentaries?

  1. #1

    Good Movies/Documentaries?

    I am presently stuck in bed after a hospital trip (hate those things!) and was wondering if anybody could recommend some good Zen/Buddhist movies or documentaries? I could get Netflix easily, but I'm not sure if it would have the kind of stuff I like. (Not a mainstream tv watcher, here.)

    Any ideas?

    Gassho,
    Lee

  2. #2
    Senior Member Shawn's Avatar
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    Hope you recover very soon.

    Gassho

    Shawn

    Sent from my SGH-I337M using Tapatalk
    I am relatively new to zen. Please keep that in mind and take what I say with a truck load of salt.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sydney's Avatar
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    Netflix is, unfortunately, a little lean on these titles. Even Audible doesn't have a lot on the audiobook front.
    Diligently attain nothing. Sort of. Best not to over-think it.
    http://gplus.to/sydneytinker

  4. #4
    Senior Member Sekishi's Avatar
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    Hi Fugu,

    I hope your recovery is swift (and you are at ease in your ills in the meantime)!

    Here are a few notes to maybe start off a list.

    Gassho,
    Sekishi / Eric



    Zen: An enjoyable (although somewhat fanciful) film about our very own Dogen. It is quite beautiful, but takes some liberties with the historical Dogen (at least compared with what I've read elsewhere). There is a Kensho scene which may induce giggles. I do not believe it is available on Netflix, but is on Amazon streaming. Someone posted on the forum a while back that it was on Youtube. I don't know if that is still the case.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1156470

    Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?: A beautiful Korean film about three people living in a mountain hermitage: the old Zen master, his sometimes disciple, and an orphan boy. I've not seen it in years, but I think it is a beautiful and difficult film that hit me pretty hard when I watched it on DVD. I do not know of anyplace it can be watched via streaming.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097195/

    Souls of Zen: A recently released documentary about responses to the 03/11 tsunami. It is not on Netflix, but is on Amazon streaming. I've not watched it yet, but will in the next day or two as it is also currently the "Film Club" selection on Tricycle.org (if you are a member or get the magazine).
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2294819
    http://www.tricycle.com/filmclub

    Amongst White Clouds: Part travelogue, part documentary about hermit monks and nuns living in the mountains in China. I assume it was inspired at some level by Red Pine's book "Road to Heaven".
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1270080

    The Buddha: An introductory "life of the Buddha" film with some nice animation, but not a lot of depth (as I recall anyway). Used to be on Netflix, but I don't think it is anymore. It is on Amazon (free with Prime I think).
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1478841

    Zen Mind: No idea, I've not watched it, but pops up in my recommended list on Amazon periodically (they have my number I guess). ^_^
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005IXCVRO




    In the realm of "films with Buddhist themes", but are not overly Buddhist, here are a few recommendations.

    Groundhog Day: The deepest "romantic comedy" EVAR. What happens if you relive the same day for 10,000 years, and nothing you do has any consequence?
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107048

    The Fountain: An odd, sometimes dark Darren Aronofsky film the explores the nature of letting go (taking one character across multiple lifetimes), rebirth, and (possibly) cyclical time. Epic in scope (hundreds of years pass during the film), but very focused on a few characters.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0414993

    Cloud Atlas: I've not seen the film, but the book definitely covered some Buddhist themes, and was a delightful read (also spanning hundreds of years).
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1371111

    Samsara: A visual journey / punch to the eyeballs by "Godfrey Reggio" (who created Koyaanisqatsi long ago). It is a similar film to Koyaanisqatsi in many ways (a musical and visual journey without narrative). Mostly an exploration of this realm of Samsara as an unfixable realm of birth and death. NOT a happy or "feel good" film.
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770802/




    I know you asked about films, but if you are stuck at home, there are some amazing podcasts out there that you might enjoy listening to. Podcasts can be subscribed to (for free) in itunes or other "podcatcher" software and you will get new episodes automagically when they are released. However, most also provide some kind of web interface for just streaming from a laptop, tablet, or phone.

    Upaya Zen Center Podcasts and Dharma Talks: Dharma talks by various folks at the Upaya Zen center - Roshi Joan Halifax, as well as guest teachers, and talks by folks both within Buddhism and outside of it (they recently did a 10 part series of interdisciplinary presentations about complex systems, philosophy of mind, and emergence for example). A great podcast.
    http://www.upaya.org/dharmatalks/

    Hardcore Zen: Talks by Brad Warner (Jundo's Dharma brother). Not at lot of episodes, but at least a few hours worth.
    http://hardcorezen.libsyn.com/

    San Francisco Zen Center Dharma Talks: I've not listened in a while, but they used to have more Dharma talks than I could keep up with (seriously, they posted new ones every day or two).
    http://www.sfzc.org/zc/display.asp?c...,10&pageid=440

    Zencast: Talks mostly by folks associated with the Insight Meditation Center / IMC. Fairly far afield from our practice at times, but Gil Fronsdal was one of my first introductions to the Dharma, so I still listen from time to time.
    http://www.zencast.org/

    Rochester Zen Center Dharma Talks: Dharma talks by Roshi Bodhin Kjolhede and others. RZC is a different lineage than ours here at Treeleaf (there is definitely more talk of Kensho, sitting with Koans, etc.), so keep that in mind I guess. I still enjoy listening from time to time.
    http://rzcpodcasts.blogspot.com/

    髭 Sekishi / Eric

  5. #5
    Treeleaf Unsui Yugen's Avatar
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    Red Beard by Akira Kurosawa. Not available in streaming / Netflix but get the disc. Not a samurai movie, maybe Kurosawa's best.

    Please get well soon.

    Gassho
    Yugen
    Please take all my comments with a grain of salt - I am a novice priest and anything I say is to be taken with a good dose of skepticism - Shodo Yugen

  6. #6
    Hi.

    Don't forget The matrix trilogy or star wars, especially "the empire strikes back".

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen
    Treeleaf Unsui
    Blog: http://fugenblog.blogspot.com/

  7. #7
    Hi Lee

    Sorry you have been in hospital again. As well as watching Buddhist related material (and I thorougly second all the great podcasts from Sekishi), I would recommend anything that keeps your spirits up and body relaxed and happy. I am with you on the majority of mainstream viewing though.

    Sending good thoughts for rapid healing. Take it easy.

    Gassho
    Andy

  8. #8
    One of my favorite life affirming Zen movies seems available on this list: Enlightenment Guaranteed. Recommended for everyone!

    http://dvd.netflix.com/SubGenreList/..._Language/2555

    Gassho, J
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  9. #9
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    Love that movie

    gassho, Jindo Shokai, an itinerant monk emeritus still learning the way and knowing nothing.
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Nengyo's Avatar
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    I will second zen, groundhog day, and red beard. All good movies with neat themes. For netflix streaming I would also recommend the movie Ip Man (2008) It has nothing to do with zen (it isn't not zen either), but it is one of the best kung fu movies I've seen in a while.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    One of my favorite life affirming Zen movies seems available on this list: Enlightenment Guaranteed. Recommended for everyone!

    http://dvd.netflix.com/SubGenreList/..._Language/2555

    Gassho, J
    This movie is impossible to find on dvd for purchase in the US. They must have produced only ten copies and sent eight to netflix. One is selling for $200 on amazon! I guess I'll have to do a trial of netflix dvd to see it.


    Get well soon Fugu!
    Try not to be a jerk-- one of the Buddhas

  11. #11
    Senior Member Entai's Avatar
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    Fugu,
    I recently watched "Zen", a portrayal of Dogen's life. A couple cheesy scenes (you'll have no doubt which ones I mean when you see them). Otherwise, I enjoyed it.

    Gassho, Entai

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    One of my favorite life affirming Zen movies seems available on this list: Enlightenment Guaranteed. Recommended for everyone!

    http://dvd.netflix.com/SubGenreList/..._Language/2555

    Gassho, J
    Yes, this is a fantastic movie. I also like the old Kung fu movies with David Carradine. =)

    Be well and speedy recovery Fugu!

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Sekishi's Avatar
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    For the films mentioned so far, it looks like a pretty mixed bag as far as streaming goes.

    Zen: DVD, Youtube (link at bottom of message).

    Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?: DVD purchase only

    Souls of Zen: Tricycle Film Club, $2.99 Amazon Rental

    Amongst White Clouds: Netflix DVD

    The Buddha: Amazon Prime, $2.99 Amazon Rental, Netflix DVD

    Zen Mind: $1.99 Amazon Rental

    Groundhog Day: $2.99 Amazon Rental, Netflix, Netflix DVD

    The Fountain: $2.99 Amazon Rental, Netflix, Netflix DVD

    Cloud Atlas: $6.99 Amazon Streaming (Purchase), Netflix DVD

    Samsara: $2.99 Amazon Rental, Netflix, Netflix DVD

    Red Beard: DVD Only

    Enlightenment Guaranteed: DVD Only (crazy expensive as Nengyo pointed out)

    Gassho,
    Sekishi


    髭 Sekishi / Eric

  14. #14
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    I've made a list on imdb of titles that has to do with awakening and spirituality.

    here it is :

    http://www.imdb.com/list/ls050814957/

    I would recommend peaceful warrior, film based on a book by Dan Millman.

    Anyone feel free to suggest titles :-)

  15. #15
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I have a copy of "Enlightenment Guaranteed" that belongs to Treeleaf. I will pass it along when I find it. My fiance put it in storage without my knowledge and I must get it out soon!
    迎 Geika

  16. #16
    Senior Member Myosha's Avatar
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    Hello,

    Enlightenment Guaranteed on YouTube. . .in German. . .w/ Cyrilic subtitles. . .



    it looks​ great!


    Gassho
    Your helpful hinderer,
    Myosha
    Practice with humility, respect all beings, avoid attachments, give rise to prajńa from your own awareness, put an end to delusions - Hui-neng

  17. #17
    Treeleaf Unsui Dosho's Avatar
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    Departures! A Japanese film available with English subtitles:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1069238/

    I could not recommend this more highly. A wonderful film.

    Gassho,
    Dosho
    Shudo Dosho - Ordained Priest-in-Training
    With your help and guidance from Jundo & Taigu
    I am learning, but please take what I say with a
    grain of salt, especially in matters of the Dharma.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Koshin's Avatar
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    The Director of Enlightenment Guaranteed is Doris Dörrie, I love some other films/documentaries from her, such as "Cherry Blossoms", and "How to cook your life"

    Gassho
    ______________________________
    Kōshin / Leo



    P.S. Yup, I know, my English sucks

  19. #19
    Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring ... I truly enjoyed this one as well. =)

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0374546/

    Gassho
    Shingen
    真 眼

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Amelia's Avatar
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    I have not seen Cherry Blossoms...
    迎 Geika

  21. #21
    Thank you everybody for such a variety of info! I'm working my way thru the list......ordered a couple of DVDs from Amazon. I need to replace the favorite of all time movie in my life which heretofore has been 'The Birdcage'.

    Gassho,
    Lee

  22. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    One of my favorite life affirming Zen movies seems available on this list: Enlightenment Guaranteed. Recommended for everyone!

    http://dvd.netflix.com/SubGenreList/..._Language/2555

    Gassho, J

    $979 on Amazon???? Is this still April First?



    ::thud::

    Gassho,
    Lee

  23. #23
    I would also recommend Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring, which is a lovely film. If you are looking for something a bit different, not necessarily 'Buddhist' but interesting and certainly not mainstream, I can recommend Werner Herzog's Encounters at the End of the World, about Antarctica and the people who live and work there.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Encounters-a...d+of+the+world

    Hope you recover soon.

    Gassho
    Lucy

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