Saturday, April 30, 2011

The 2nd Asian Buddhist Film Festival Singapore

In Singapore, going to cinema can be boring. For long months, there is simply nothing other than Hollywood and Chinese blockbusters following each other and small film festivals are rare gems. But luckily there are these small film festivals. One of them is the Asian Buddhist Film Festival, 2nd will be held in May 2011. I hope this becomes a yearly event, the first one was 4 years ago!

The festival will be held between May 5th and 8th 2011 and will screen movies from Bhutan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Sri Lanka and the United States featuring diversity of Buddhist ways and Asian cultures.

The event's first movie is highly acclaimed Hong Kong movie Echoes of the Rainbow. This movie is actually not about or related to Buddhism. It is about the struggles of a working class family in 1960's Hong Kong. It depicts a Hong Kong and an Asia gone long ago. But it is about love, family and universally accepted values of mankind, which qualifies the movie well for the festival. The festival will end by screening of Qi Xia Temple (the story of Ji Ran, an abbot who housed and protected thousands of civilians in his monastery from Japanese soldiers during the Japanese occupation of Nanjing) from China. You can see the list of movies here.

"There are two kinds of Buddhist movies: those that focus on Buddhist subjects and those that don't. Those first shows Buddhist walking around and doing Buddhist things, than there are also movies showing Buddhist values without mentioning the 'B' word.

Echoes of The Rainbow is what i call a Buddha-less Buddhist movie. It foregrounds necessity of mindfulness and compassion in everyday life, but it does not spend a lot of time on mantras, incense, gongs and extreme haircuts."
Dr John Whalen-Bridge, associate professor of English at National University of Singapore and one of the festival's organizing comittee members

In fact the lead characters in Echoes of The Rainbow are Christian and  the movie includes some church screens. "I quickly realized why they chose it, because there are not many barriers or differences among all the different religions" says Alex Law, the director of the movie.  
According to Golden Village web site the tickets for opening and closing mights are at 20 Singapore Dollars each. Tickets for all other sessions will be priced as $10.

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