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Title: Case Studies in Making Buddhist Independent Film
Authors: 卜道
Blundell, David
Date: 2004
Issue Date: 2010-09-18 22:51:54 (UTC+8)
Abstract: This is a revisit to my fieldwork in Sri Lanka for the visual documentation of the autobiography of a Sinhalese Buddhist headmonk. My basis of research was grounded in the experimental film work of Ronald and Donald Rundstrom and Clinton Bergum on the serving of traditional Japanese tea entitled The Path. They filmed The Path for a course project taught by John Collier, Jr. at San Francisco State University. The film was based on the interactive participation of a local Japanese tea hostess serving her guests. It was a step by step study of the underlying dimensions of traditional sensibilities by performing a social art. A strategy of laying out a storyboard was followed by the direction of a Japanese tea hostess. The film medium provided an intentionalized concentrated effort to understand the cultural aesthetic process by visual framing. The resulting 35 minute film and written ethnography reflected symbolism and cultural dimensions of Japanese society (Rundstrom et. al. 1973).

After being instructed by Ronald and Donald Rundstrom, I conducted my field studies in Sri Lanka to explore the visual method with local people who directed and framed films of their lives (Blundell 1991, 1994, 1997). I found this to be an excellent way to elicit self values from a culture. The film to be discussed here is entitled The Life History of Ven. Hanchapola Gnanavansa Thero: A Buddhist Headmonk in Sri Lanka. These two experimental filmic ethnographies will be revisited based on the work accomplished and the contribution made to the field of visual anthropology for producing Buddhist heritage documents.

Since last year I have teamed up with a Canadian filmmaker, Ms Anika Tokarchuk, for her final edit production of a film entitled Life as Cinema about the making of Phörpa (The Cup), an independent feature film by Dzongsar Khyentse Norbu Rinpoche, and other Tibetan monks who are rekindling their Buddhist faith in India and in some cases returning to Tibet to film document their heritage. This film being completed in Taipei is about illusion and the Himalayan journeys from Tibet, and reflected back through the lens of Tibetans recording their own returning to sacred ground. This project traces the filmic journey by Ms Tokarchuk includes footage made in Tibet by Karbu lama and the life story of senior lama Khenpo Kunga Wangchuck Rinpoche about lives from different perspectives and across generations.
Relation: Hsi Lai Journal of Humanistic Buddhism, 5:312-322
Data Type: article
Appears in Collections:[英國語文學系] 期刊論文

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