Thursday, March 04, 2010

Tibet at the Movies


March is Akira Kurosawa month on Turner Classic Movies, during which they will broadcast a satisfying number of his finest works. We currently have guests at the San Gabriel Valley house -- this was a prior obligation -- after which I must dissolve back into my retreat with flexible boundaries. I will therefore miss Kurosawa month.

In around 1968 or 1969, I accompanied my teacher to a Kurosawa film being shown at the University of California. There was a scene in which, during the course of a sword fight, a samaurai lost an arm. Regardless, he went on fighting. Upon witnessing this scene, the lama slapped me very hard on the back of the head, exclaiming, "That's what I'm talking about! That's Vajrayana!"

This is a fond, fond memory for me.

But, that isn't why I bring up the subject of motion pictures.

At Jamyang Norbu's most excellent Shadow Tibet blog, he has done the world a service by posting "The Happy Light Bioscope Theatre," which is detailed historical overview of the cinema in Tibet. Never have I been so entertained and informed by a blog post.

Did you know that the very first reference in Tibetan to an optical entertainment device comes from Jigme Lingpa? Did you know that Lassie Come Home and Rin Tin Tin were eternal favorites among Lhasa's upper classes?

Thumbs up. You simply must give this article a careful read.

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3 reader comments:

Don said...

For an vastly amusing take on the Shambhala Mythologem see The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes by Jamyang Norbu (no relation to Konchog “The Penthouse Lama” Norbu).

TENPA said...

I know he's a great friend of yours, Don, so maybe you will want to ever so gently explain to him that Real Monks Don't Blog.

Dan said...

What real entity DOES blog? We're all figments, I say. And think. And write.