The film website Green Cine has posted a list of "The Most Spiritually Affecting Buddhist Movies." Here's the list:
- Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...and Spring (Korean)
- The Thin Red Line
- Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Come From The East? (Korean)
- Revenge of the Sith
- Wheel of Time
- Peaceful Warrior
- The Dhamma Brothers
- The Cup
Most of these I haven't seen, so I cannot comment on them. Of those that I have seen ... "Revenge of the Sith" had some pop-Buddhist moments, but a "spiritually affecting Buddhist movie"? I don't think so. I reviewed "The Dhamma Brothers" last April and gave it a B minus. It was OK, not great.
I did love "The Cup," however. It was written by Buddhist monk Khyentse Norbu and is about some young monks determined to watch the World Cup soccer match. If you've never seen it, rent it sometime. It's delightful.
The honorable mentions included "Kundun," which may be romanticized but is at least more spiritually affecting than "Revenge of the Sith," and "The Matrix." The Matrix? "For its extended metaphor that addresses parallels between the concept of samsara, the internet, and 'virtual reality,'" the reviewer says. A stretch, I say.
A film not on the list that I recommend is "Jacob's Ladder," which was released in 1990 and stars Tim Robbins as a Vietnam vet who seems to be having a hard time adjusting to civilian life. It's loosely based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, believe it or not. I think it's gripping. (If you comment on this, please don't spoil it for others.)
Any other comments or candidates?