Wheel of Time
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The festival, which lasts ten days, arose out of the desire to create a strong positive bond for inner peace among a large number of people. The monks begin with chants, music, and mantra recitation to bless the site so that it will be conducive for creating the sand mandala. The magnificently beautiful mandala, which signifies the wheel of time, is carefully constructed at the start of the festival using fourteen different tints of colored sand, then dismantled at the end to dramatize the impermanence of all things. Once built, it is kept in a glass case for the duration of the proceedings so that it will not be disturbed. The most striking aspect of the film are the scenes showing the devotion of the participants. Using two interpreters, Herzog interviews a monk who took three and one-half years to reach the festival while doing prostrations on the 3000-mile journey.Read more ›
This is the real thing.
The Bodh Gaya initiation was postponed to 2003 because the Dalai Lama was sick. The film shows the grounds of Bodh Gaya, the pilgrims and monks, the making of the sand mandala, and the feeding of such a large number of people.
Mount Kailash is perceived to be a mandala by Buddhists, Hindus, and Bons. This portion of the film starts with the pilgrims arriving on open-backed trucks and prostrating when they see Kailash for the first time. It follows the pilgrims to the Saga Dawa festival with the raising of the Tarboche pole. It concludes with the Kailash kora to the north face of Kailash, some of the pilgrims prostrating the whole way.
The Dalai Lama does preside over the Graz Kalachakra initiation. The film shows the monks creating the sand mandala and the Dalai Lama destroying the mandala at the end of the initiation, signifying impermanence. In addition, Mattieu Ricard interviews Takna Jigme Sangpo, an old Tibetan who had just been released by the Chinese after 32 years in prison, mostly for shouting Free Tibet.
I really liked the Kailash and Graz portions of the film - short, tight, and well filmed. I especially liked the interview of Takna Jigme Sangpo - he is so kind, warm-hearted and positive for somebody persecuted by the Chinese for so long. I think the The Bodh Gaya portion of the film was too long, and focuses too much on the background of the initiation. The close ups of the faces of the monks and pilgrims visually tell the story of their devotion.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I found this documentary frustrating for the reason that everyone else did: Herzog shows us stunning images of ritual and devotion, but he says little to nothing about what any of... Read morePublished on June 24, 2012 by A fellow with a keyboard
What is it about middle aged white mean and their sudden love of Orientalism (or jazz, for that matter)? Is it a midlife crisis? Read morePublished on June 21, 2012 by Cosmoetica
Wonderful documentary filled with visuals and simple explications about Buddhism , the Dali Lama , devotees including an insight to the people of faith that are not ordained.Published on January 8, 2011 by Nunzio Belladonna
German filmmaker Werner Herzog as usual is exceptional at film and captures everyday life of Buddhists on their pilgrimage to Bhod Gaya. Read morePublished on May 16, 2009 by bernie
As many other Herzog's films, the WOT looks deceptively content less, with a narrative that is descriptive in the simplest possible way, but never explanatory - nor (and that is... Read morePublished on April 26, 2008 by kaioatey
First of all, this is one of the poorest, most amateurish documentaries I have ever seen made by a so called "professional" film maker. Read morePublished on November 21, 2007 by KV Trout
I love anything that has to do with sand mandalas and buddhism. Mandalas are complex to explain but their creation as well as their destruction is a fascinating aspect of the... Read morePublished on June 10, 2007 by Tania E. Lara Pretto