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Angry Monk


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Angry Monk

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Amazon.com: 8 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Another side to modern Tibet Jan. 13 2010
By Daiho - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
An overlooked corner of modern Tibetan history is revealed in Luc Schaedler's Angry Monk, the fascinating story of Gendun Choephel, regarded now as one of Tibet's leading intellectuals of the 20th century but once reviled and imprisoned for daring to dream of a society open to democratic development.

Disillusioned with a culture that worshiped tradition and feared innovation, Choephel left the stifling regimen of monastic life in 1934 in the company of Rahul Sankrityayan, an Indian scholar of Buddhism and communist activist for Indian independence. Traveling to India, Choephel stepped into a world of wonders, a land criss-crossed by trains, peopled with merchants and businessmen engaged in trade with the outside world, and united in throwing off British imperialism. Enraptured and eager to experience it all, Choephel shrugged off his monastic habits and began an inner exploration of sensual pleasure through tobacco, alcohol and women. All the while he was writing in his diary, painting, sketching, completing the first ever Tibetan translation of the Kama Sutra, publishing a pilgrim's guide to the sacred Buddhist sites of India, contributing reports on the outside world to an emigre newspaper, and beginning work on a non-religious history of Tibet.

Arriving back in Lhasa, Choephel found his reputation had preceded him and was promptly thrown into jail, tortured, and left to rot until being released only months before the Chinese invasion of 1950. With any hope for reform crushed by the arrival of Mao's army, Choephel entered an intense period of inebriation from which he never recovered, passing away in 1951 at the age of 48.

Swiss director Schaedler works matter-of-factly, tracing the travels of his subject from his birthplace in eastern Tibet through to India and back to Lhasa, weaving together interviews with Choephel's surviving contemporaries with voice-overs describing his own journey. Anyone interested in modern Tibetan history should not miss this film, especially as it is the only document about Choephel's life currently available in English.

The film is also available on DVD direct from the director's website.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Quotes Aug. 25 2009
By L. Schaedler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Press Quotes

--"A gritty, insightful film about the tragic life of a radical Tibetan artist and intellectual... A compelling story, beautifully told."
Jamyang Norbu (December 11, 2005), Author of the award winning novel, The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes

--"Luc Schaedler's absorbing film is a valuable introduction to an intriguing scholar and offers a very useful perspective on recent Tibetan history. Who knew that Tibetans keep pictures of Chairman Mao on their walls to ward off
demons?"
The Vancouver Sun (October 12, 2005)

--"ANGRY MONK works as a historical travelogue of Tibet and India, covering the years leading up to Tibet's occupation, and challenging stereotypical notions about Tibet (...) writer-director Luc Schaedler offers the encouraging observation that Tibetans are both experiencing a renaissance, and a newfound confidence in their culture, in spite of the Chinese occupation."javascript:reviewTagSuggestions('gendun%20choephel')
CommonGround.ca (October 2005)

--"Schaedler throws the myths away, producing an alternative assessment of Tibet's past and present that is eye-opening indeed."
Terminal City, Vancouver (September 2005)

--"ANGRY MONK is an eye-opener for romantic Western visions. Largely ignored or reviled in his lifetime, the 'angry monk' Choephel has become an important figure in a rapidly changeing Tibet". 24hours.ca (October 5, 2005)
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Very insightful March 5 2011
By Jo A. Russell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
What appealed to me about the CD's topic was that it wasn't just the Buddhist philosophy but insight into disenchantment with the thinking and lifestyle in general. I felt it was helpful to see what could make someone become disenchanted with such a wonderful way of living life. After watching this CD I feel that I am right on tract in pursing a Buddhist way of life. Good for the opposite point of view.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A monk who chose to refute monastic life & spoke out severely against the extreme religious conservatism and cultural isolation Sept. 13 2009
By Midwest Book Review - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet is a DVD documentary and portrait of Gendun Choephel, a monk who chose to refute monastic life and spoke out severely against the extreme religious conservatism and cultural isolationist attitude permeating the government of his nation. After he left the monastery in 1934, he traveled through Tibet and India to better understand the history of Tibet and Buddhism. Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet includes rare archival footage, Choephel's paintings, modern-day scenes of sites he traveled to, and above all, the wisdom and insight of an outcast critic, whose determination has made him an immortal symbol of political and spiritual reform in Tibet. Highly recommended. Bonus features include a director interview and biography, writing extracts by Gendun Choephel, and a Tibetan film gallery.
Monk Turned Rebel Political Intellectual, mid-20th century Aug. 20 2015
By Craig Wood - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This documentary is valuable insofar as it does a good job of informing the viewer about a 20th century Tibetan intellectual named Gendun Chophel, who began his life as a monastic but rebelled against rigidity and stagnation in Tibetan Buddhist and Tibetan political institutions as they existed just prior to the invasion of Tibet in 1949 by Chinese communists. As a monk he was reputed to be unsurpassed in debate, yet one wonders how someone so well-versed in the teachings of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni and those followed could so ignore those teachings (especially those on renunciation of worldly pleasures). Yet it took such an "errant" monk to expose the corruption and hypocrisy that apparently pervaded the very closed Tibetan political system prior to it's "liberation" by Mao Zedong and his People's Army. Chophel was obviously an important figure in 20th century Tibet.


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