Buddhism and American Cinema
Discusses both depictions of Buddhism in film and Buddhist takes on a variety of films.
In 1989, the same year the Dalai Lama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, a decade-long boom of films dedicated to Buddhist people, history, and culture began. Offering the first scholarly treatment of Buddhism and cinema, the editors advise that there are two kinds of Buddhist film: those that are about Buddhists and those that are not. Focusing on contemporary American offerings, the contributors extend a two-pronged approach, discussing how Buddhism has been captured by directors and presenting Buddhist-oriented critiques of the worlds represented in films that would seem to have no connection with Buddhism. Films discussed range from those set in Tibet, such as Kundun and Lost Horizon, to those set well outside of any Buddhist milieu, such as Groundhog Day and The Matrix. The contributors explain the Buddhist theoretical concepts that emerge in these works, including karma, the bardo, and reincarnation, and consider them in relation to interpretive strategies that include feminism, postcolonialism, and contemplative psychological approaches.
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aesthetics Alvy American Beauty American culture Annie Hall Asian audience authenticity bardo become Bob and Charlotte Buddhist film Bulletproof Monk Capra’s characters Charlotte’s Christian cinema Conway Conway’s craving critical Dalai Lama death depiction desire dharma dhism dhist Donnie Darko Donnie’s dream dukkha enlightenment essay existence experience explore fantasy father Fight Club film’s Frank the Rabbit freedom Gekko Groundhog Day Harrer Heaven and Earth Hedin Hilton Hollywood ideology illusion imperial impermanence karma Kelly Kelly’s Kundun Le Ly Hayslip liberation Little Buddha lives Lost Horizon Lost in Translation Ly’s Matrix meaning mind monks mountain movie narrative nation nature one’s Orgyen Orientalism philosophy political popular culture portrayal practice reality reincarnation relationship religion religious role scene Scorsese Scorsese’s sense Shangri-La Southland Tales spiritual Steve Stone story suffering tanha teachings things Tibet Tibetan Buddhism Tibetan landscape tion traditional understanding utopia Viet Vietnam Vietnamese viewers violence visual Western