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:: Samsara

From the age of five, Tashi has been in study and meditation to become a monk. After 3 years of solitary meditation he is brought back to his monastery in Ladakh, in the Himalayas and slowly reawakened to the world. But it is not only Tashi who is woken but also a newly experienced sexual drive. His emotional and sexual confusion coincides with a journey to a village for a harvesting celebration. Here he meets and instantly falls in love with Pema, a young woman. Tashi returns to the monastery but when he is unable to refocus on his meditation and study as a monk he is sent to a mysterious hermit by a wise and elderly monk, Apo. The hermit shares sacred tantric texts and secrets with Tashi. When he returns to the monastery Tashi expresses his belief that one cannot renounce worldly existence without first experiencing it and that even Buddha lived in the world and married before renouncing it.

Quitting the monastery he travels to the village to find Pema and experience Samsara, the world. He does and they are soon married, together they explore their sexual desires and deep intimacy. But there is more to life and Tashi is surprised by its complexity.

When his former teacher, Apo, dies he is sent a letter and a question, ‘what is more important: satisfying one thousand desires or conquering just one?’ His destiny has a surprising ending.

This is a wonderfully shot and performed film. Director Pan Nalin chose costumes of colours that either blended or contrasted with the countryside. The film allows the audience to exist within the isolated life of the Himalayan villages where you are a nomad, farmer or monk. The audience is also asked the question of the importance between spiritual searching and life experience. This is a truly beautiful film.

Screening at the Lumiere Cinemas, the Classic Cinemas, and Cinema Nova