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Life of Buddha
Life of Buddha
Director: Martin Meissonnier
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
NR     2004     1hr 30min

The quest for enlightenment known as Buddhism is rapidly attracting followers in the western world today. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a best-selling author and his personal appearances in the U.S draw huge crowds. Popul...  more »


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Movie Details

Director: Martin Meissonnier
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Biography
Studio: ARTE
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 05/18/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 30min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 5
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Makes it seem like a nice but ancient dream
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This film is made in the style of a documentary you might see on PBS or the Discovery Channel. The traditional story of the Buddha's life is told in brief appearances by monks, scholars, traditional village storytellers, school children reading aloud from textbooks, etc with the gaps filled in by an unseen narrator. We also see archaeologists walking around some of the important sites and we see panoramas of ruins and weedy overgrown areas where various episodes in the story might or might not have happened.In my opinion there is a little too much emphasis in the beginning of the film on the fairy tale aspects of the story. Seeing impoverished villagers listening to a grizzled storyteller talking about the infant Siddhartha taking seven steps and proclaiming his purpose immediately after his birth, with lotus flowers springing up in each footstep, may be a bit off-putting to modern Western viewers. The second half of the film sticks to the credible parts of the story, and the DVD bonus material includes some nice
clips of Thich Nhat Hanh explaining (his view of) the core philosophy of Buddhism.When I ordered this disk there were no reviews or detailed descriptions available here. I was hoping it would be a dramatized Life of Buddha along the lines of all the great classic movies that have been made about Jesus. In my opinion the world needs such a movie about Buddha to vividly illustrate the sacrifices he made and the relevance of
his teachings to all people. So, this is not the sort of movie I was hoping for. It is more like a travel film, a glimpse of far away people and places, with some shots of lovely scenery and exotic birdcalls in the background."
Complete and Concise
A. Vegan | Ontario Canada | 02/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you're new to Buddhism or would like to know more, this is probably the best place to start. I've only been following the Buddhist lifestyle for a few years and I found this film to be very helpful. Sometimes the books can be a little dry and some of the names and places are very difficult to pronounce, that's another reason why this is a really great film. So much information is given in the 90 minute video but if you want a Buddhism 101, I highly recommend it. Even if you're not a Buddhist, it's a beautiful story."
Excavating the Enlightened
Mr. Aditya B. Surti | 10/20/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Any reliable biographical account has an obligation to relate the relevant and significant facts of the `LIFE' studied without such facts being manipulated. It is not only necessary to precisely articulate the facts as they were in the life of such a person but also to meticulously place them in light of the circumstances that prevailed then. This very well researched documentary does a good job at complying with both these factors. Unlike today, at the time the Buddha lived, there wasn't a practice to document the lives of celebrities. So most of what we know about Buddha today is through widely prevalent Buddhist folklore in the regions where Buddhism is ubiquitous, the biographical accounts of Buddha as they appear in some of the oldest Buddhist manuscripts, and some intensely studied archeological remains like the stupas and the remains of the city of Nalanda which justify the authenticity of such ages-old Buddha stories. Based on these resources, this documentary carefully takes you on an educational journey depicting the life of `The Enlightened One' while avoiding exaggerations of any kind."
Good educational DVD
D. K. Tempelton | Springfield, Ohio USA | 01/12/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"You can learn a lot about Siddhartha Gautama, The Buddha, from this DVD. However, the first half is a bit boring (I showed it to my high school students in a World Religions class and they dozed through the first 30 minutes!) The second half is much better. One major drawback is that a few of the experts who are interviewed in the program have such thick accents that they are very difficult to understand. But, on the positive side, this program is beautifully filmed, showing many of the places where Siddhartha spent time during his life. And, as far as I can tell, it is an accurate and detailed retelling of the events of his life. I greatly enjoyed it and my students leanred a lot from it (once they woke up!)"