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Angry Monk
Angry Monk
Actors: Gendun Choephel, Golok Jigme, Tashi Tsering
Director: Luc Schaedler
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
NR     2009     1hr 37min

Gendun Choephel is a legendary figure in Tibet. Believed to be the reincarnation of a famous Buddhist lama, this promising young monk turned his back on monastic life and became a fierce critic of his country's religious c...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Gendun Choephel, Golok Jigme, Tashi Tsering
Director: Luc Schaedler
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Biography
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 08/18/2009
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2009
Run Time: 1hr 37min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 2
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English
Subtitles: English

Movie Reviews

An Interesting Look at Tibet
Amos Lassen | Little Rock, Arkansas | 08/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet"

An Interesting Look at Tibet

Amos Lassen

"Angry Monk" is a powerful yet personal film that is compelling and insightful. Gendrun Choephel is the stuff legends are made of. He is thought to be the reincarnation of a famous Buddhist lama and is a young monk who does not live monastically but is instead a powerful critic of his country's religious conservatism, cultural isolationism and reactionary government. Because of his own intellectual curiosity he left his monastery in 1934 and began traveling throughout Tibet and India so that he could better understand the history of his country. The film is a personal and political look at Choephel and we are witness to his intellectualism as well as his art. He retains a place of reverence in Tibet and is a symbol of freedom and hope for those Tibetans who want social, political, cultural and spiritual reform. This is his story which is told through interviews with historians and scholars in Tibet as well as with writers and his wife. It is a glorious film that will open your eyes. (First Run Features).
Another side to modern Tibet
ShriDurga | 01/13/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"An overlooked corner of modern Tibetan history is revealed in Luc Schaedler's Angry Monk, the fascinating story of Gendun Choephel, regarded now as one of Tibet's leading intellectuals of the 20th century but once reviled and imprisoned for daring to dream of a society open to democratic development.

Disillusioned with a culture that worshiped tradition and feared innovation, Choephel left the stifling regimen of monastic life in 1934 in the company of Rahul Sankrityayan, an Indian scholar of Buddhism and communist activist for Indian independence. Traveling to India, Choephel stepped into a world of wonders, a land criss-crossed by trains, peopled with merchants and businessmen engaged in trade with the outside world, and united in throwing off British imperialism. Enraptured and eager to experience it all, Choephel shrugged off his monastic habits and began an inner exploration of sensual pleasure through tobacco, alcohol and women. All the while he was writing in his diary, painting, sketching, completing the first ever Tibetan translation of the Kama Sutra, publishing a pilgrim's guide to the sacred Buddhist sites of India, contributing reports on the outside world to an emigre newspaper, and beginning work on a non-religious history of Tibet.

Arriving back in Lhasa, Choephel found his reputation had preceded him and was promptly thrown into jail, tortured, and left to rot until being released only months before the Chinese invasion of 1950. With any hope for reform crushed by the arrival of Mao's army, Choephel entered an intense period of inebriation from which he never recovered, passing away in 1951 at the age of 48.

Swiss director Schaedler works matter-of-factly, tracing the travels of his subject from his birthplace in eastern Tibet through to India and back to Lhasa, weaving together interviews with Choephel's surviving contemporaries with voice-overs describing his own journey. Anyone interested in modern Tibetan history should not miss this film, especially as it is the only document about Choephel's life currently available in English.

The film is also available on DVD direct from the director's website."
L. Schaedler | zürich | 08/25/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Press Quotes

--"A gritty, insightful film about the tragic life of a radical Tibetan artist and intellectual... A compelling story, beautifully told."
Jamyang Norbu (December 11, 2005), Author of the award winning novel, The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes

--"Luc Schaedler's absorbing film is a valuable introduction to an intriguing scholar and offers a very useful perspective on recent Tibetan history. Who knew that Tibetans keep pictures of Chairman Mao on their walls to ward off
The Vancouver Sun (October 12, 2005)

--"ANGRY MONK works as a historical travelogue of Tibet and India, covering the years leading up to Tibet's occupation, and challenging stereotypical notions about Tibet (...) writer-director Luc Schaedler offers the encouraging observation that Tibetans are both experiencing a renaissance, and a newfound confidence in their culture, in spite of the Chinese occupation."javascript:reviewTagSuggestions('gendun%20choephel') (October 2005)

--"Schaedler throws the myths away, producing an alternative assessment of Tibet's past and present that is eye-opening indeed."
Terminal City, Vancouver (September 2005)

--"ANGRY MONK is an eye-opener for romantic Western visions. Largely ignored or reviled in his lifetime, the 'angry monk' Choephel has become an important figure in a rapidly changeing Tibet". (October 5, 2005)"
A monk who chose to refute monastic life & spoke out severel
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 09/14/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet is a DVD documentary and portrait of Gendun Choephel, a monk who chose to refute monastic life and spoke out severely against the extreme religious conservatism and cultural isolationist attitude permeating the government of his nation. After he left the monastery in 1934, he traveled through Tibet and India to better understand the history of Tibet and Buddhism. Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet includes rare archival footage, Choephel's paintings, modern-day scenes of sites he traveled to, and above all, the wisdom and insight of an outcast critic, whose determination has made him an immortal symbol of political and spiritual reform in Tibet. Highly recommended. Bonus features include a director interview and biography, writing extracts by Gendun Choephel, and a Tibetan film gallery."