Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man directed by Lian Lunson; shorts directed by Don Farber
Australia / 2005; USA / 2016 / English / 115 min plus Q&A / Documentary
Special Guest: Pico Iyer
In Person: Lian Lunson, director of Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, and Don Farber, director, and Carole Wilson, producer, of the two short films
Live Musical Performance: "Hallelujah" by legendary folk artist Amy Correia on vocals/guitar with virtuoso cellist Peggy Baldwin
Opening Meditation and Chant by Khen Rinpoche Tsetan
The much celebrated writer, musician, and performer Leonard Cohen famously spent several years as a Zen Buddhist monk with Japanese teacher Joshu Sasaki Roshi in Los Angeles. As tribute to Cohen and his music, this program offers a reprise of the excellent film by Australian Lian Lunson, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man (featuring performances of his songs by Bono, Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Antony, Martha Wainwright and others), along with two new short films with Cohen, produced for the memorial events for Joshu Sasaki Roshi and Cohen himself.
Special guest Pico Iyer is an internationally celebrated author and speaker, and a family friend of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. He first met Leonard Cohen at Mt. Baldy Zen Center 20 years ago, where Cohen was then living as a monk, and attendant to Joshu Sasaki Roshi, and has written profiles and given talks about Cohen extensively. His most recent book is The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere.
Khen Rinpoche Tsetan, who will be leading the opening meditation and chant, is a Tibetan Buddhist monk from Ladakh, India. He walked to Tibet as a teen to study at the great Tashi Lhunpo. The Chinese government occupied Tibet in 1959 and surrounded Tashi Lhunpo with tanks when he was there. The daily public humiliation and torture of monks and the removal of the Panchen Lama made him leave Tibet. After much struggle - and accomplishment - over the years, he was asked by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to become the Abbot of the exile Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in India.
Since 2005, Khen Rinpoche has worked ceaselessly to raise funds to improve the monastery and increase the number of monks and their support at what is now, unfortunately, the smallest and poorest of the Tibetan monasteries in exile.
Lian Lunson, director of Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man, and filmmakers Don Farber and Carole Wilson, who created the two short films that will be part of this program, will be present for Q&A.
Directed by Brian Perkins
USA, Myanmar / Burmese with English subtitles / 103 min plus Q&A / Drama
In Person: Director Brian Perkins and Producer Jessica Ballard
Brian Perkins' feature film debut is a beautifully filmed neo-realist work featuring very young monks in a rural Buddhist monastery. They are suddenly left to their own devices when their abbot is called away during a time of violent conflict beyond the monastery’s simple and calm environment. There are echoes here of The Cup, Uncle Boonmee Who Could Recall His Past Lives, and The Silent Holy Stones, but the unique location in remote Shan State, and the historic timing of Golden Kingdom offer a compelling case for this breakthrough film.
Director Brian Perkins and producer Jessica Ballard will be in attendance for Q&A.
Directed by Doris Dörrie
Germany, Japan / 2016 / German and Japanese with English subtitles / 108 min / Drama
Special Guest: Mushim Patricia Ikeda, Buddhist teacher and social justice activist
Doris Dörrie’s (Enlightenment Guaranteed, Cherry Blossoms) compelling new film intentionally evokes Alain Resnais’ masterpiece Hiroshima, Mon Amour, and gracefully reveals her own unique vision. Two women—one an older geisha, the other an aimless young German—try to build lives in “The Zone,” a wasteland beset by abandoned buildings and lingering radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster. There is sly humor amidst the confusion and the memories. Co-starring Clowns Without Borders founder Moshe Cohen, and filmed in lustrous black and white by Hanno Lentz.
Directed by Babeth VanLoo
Netherlands, Taiwan / 2017 / English, and Taiwanese with English subtitles / 88 min plus Q&A / Documentary
In Person: Director Babeth VanLoo
Tzu Chi is a remarkable nonprofit in Taiwan that runs hospitals, schools, recycling services, and emergency humanitarian aid efforts. The blue-jacketed Tzu Chi volunteers may be seen at disaster sites like earthquakes, tsunamis, and floods all over the world. The organization is led by an extraordinary woman, Master Cheng Yen, a Buddhist nun who began single-handedly by reaching out to neighbors to help offer health services where they were lacking in post-war Taiwan. This film introduces us to her and takes us behind the scenes to explore a unique approach to living a compassionate, engaged life.
Director Babeth VanLoo will be present to talk about the film and answer questions.
Directed by Khyentse Norbu
Bhutan / 2016 / English, and Dutch with English subtitles / 95 min / Drama
Special Guest: Denise Di Novi (producer, Edward Scissorhands, Crazy, Stupid, Love, and The Nightmare Before Christmas)
The new feature film from Tibetan Buddhist teacher Khyentse Norbu (The Cup, Travellers & Magicians) unfolds mysteriously and surprisingly to reveal a world of masks and secrets in a rural Bhutan rarely seen. It’s strange, unpredictable, dreamlike, beautiful… a film about sex, death, identity, gender, and delusion. "Dazzling... self-discovery lies at the heart of this mesmerizing new film...a colorful plunge into a world where ancient rites can summon our noblest and our basest instincts." —Toronto International Film Festival
Directed by Mickey Lemle
USA / 2016 / English / 81 min plus Q&A / Documentary
In Person: Director Mickey Lemle
Live Musical Performance: Tenzin Choegyal
Mickey Lemle (Ram Dass, Fierce Grace) updates his groundbreaking Compassion in Exile profile of the Dalai Lama with this intimate look at the enduring good humor and gentle wisdom of His Holiness, now 81. Addressing his own death, the Dalai Lama considers the challenges of the prospect of his reincarnation, with Tibet still under Chinese control; his urgency and dedication come through powerfully. Filmed on location in India, and featuring vivid archival footage; original score by Philip Glass and Tenzin Choegyal.
Tibetan singer-songwriter Tenzin Choegyal performs live as part of the closing night program. He and Philip Glass composed and performed the score for the film. Find out more about Tenzin Choegyal.
Director Mickey Lemle will be in attendance to talk about the film and answer questions.