Monday, May 06, 2013

SUNDAY BUDDHIST SCHOOL (2012, Chulayarnnon Siriphol, documentary, A+)

SUNDAY BUDDHIST SCHOOL (2012, Chulayarnnon Siriphol, documentary, A+)
You can watch this film without English subtitles here:
What I like in this film is the information that now Buddhist schools also teach other things, such as Japanese and Thai classical dance, for free. And the fact that the best thing that some students get from this school is to learn how to concentrate their minds. If you can control your mind and your thoughts, it will benefit you in many ways.
This film is also full of people expressing conservative opinions. I personally don’t agree with these opinions, but this is a fact about people who are related to this school. So we must listen to them if we want to understand the school and the people involved in it.
In a way, this film unintentionally reminds me of WHEEL OF TIME (2003, Werner Herzog, documentary), because I think both films are good, but they are devoid of “evil power” or devoid of “criticism on religions”.  Both films present some facts about religion, and present people who are wholeheartedly worship it. So we can see only the good sides of it. Sometimes I think “evil power” is what makes films very interesting or exciting, so films which deal with only the good sides of something may not be as powerful as films dealing with the dark sides of something.
Anyway, I think both SUNDAY BUDDHIST SCHOOL and WHEEL OF TIME do a good job. Both films may not be “extremely interesting”, but the directors did the best they could, judging by their topics. And at least both films are not propaganda (trying to promote religion).
As for documentary films about religion that I like, they include HALLELUYAH (2012, Uthaiwan Saragool) and DEVIL’S PLAYGROUND (2002, Lucy Walker).

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