Myths are more popular in the movies than ever, but unlike the Christian extravaganza of The Chronicles of Narnia, Milarepa: Magician, Murderer, Saint won’t be showing up on your kid’s Netflix list. This no-budget Indian import aims to be both moralistic and realistic: Filmed on the border of Tibet and directed by a lama, it’s preoccupied with cultural specificity, but its lesson about violence begetting more violence comes in the broad strokes of a Disney straight-to-video title. In 11th-century Tibet, we’re told, was born the country’s “greatest mystic”—a quiet boy who takes up the dark arts after his village betrays him and learns the hard way that revenge is for the weak. Despite the pomp of its title, Milarepa can’t translate the deep spiritual yearning of Tibetan Buddhism, relying instead on cheap Hollywood conventions to preach the message; between all the dim interiors and long shots of Milarepa walking with his white horse, you might confuse it for the dreary fairy tale of Kevin Reynolds’s Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. Director Neten Chokling envisions Milarepa’s vengeance as a spectacle of gaudy digital effects worthy of Xena: Princess Warrior, and the hero’s last act of redemption is packaged in easy aphorisms: “Enemies arise from your own mind; to conquer them, cease negative actions, cultivate positive ones, and tame your mind.” Still, though, the most foreboding line may be the one buried in the end credits: “Part 2: Milarepa: Path to Liberation is scheduled to release in 2009.”
- Luminous Velocity Releasing
- 90 min
- Neten Chokling Rinpoche
- Neten Chokling Rinpoche, Tenzing Choyang Gyari
- Orgyen Tobgyal, Kelsang Chukie Tethtong, Jamyang Lodro, Jamyang Nyima, Gimyan Lodro
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