Dir: David Grubin
Narrator: Richard Gere
I have always had a huge interest in Buddhism; I have seen countless documentaries and read books about the philosophy and Buddha himself. Some are beautiful and insightful while others lack in quality and aren’t true to what Buddhism is all about.
David Grubin’s two-part documentary is the former, it is beautiful and insightful and very pleasant to sit through. The two parts to this are 51 minutes each, and narrated by Richard Gere (who else really?).
The first part really tells the story of Siddhartha, from his beginnings through to his enlightenment. It is presented through different people talking about it, animation and pictures as well as visions of statues and representations of him. The music that plays throughout is soothing, and the entire presentation is simply calming. If you are familiar with the story, you probably wont learn a lot of new knowledge, but it is all in the way it is told. Here this is perhaps one of the best retellings of his story I have heard/seen. The pictures that play with the words go together beautifully, and you get a real sense of what Siddhartha went through and what he eventually accomplished.
The second part continues on, and now tells the story of what happened after Buddha had reached enlightenment. He travelled on to teach others about his journey, and how he reached enlightenment. This part of the story is one that perhaps isn’t told as often as his journey, but it is a good one. The story of Buddha is fascinating and woven through the harsh realities of life, and how that can be overcome. The way of life he has taught people to lead is a beautiful one, and for those that follow Buddhism have an understanding of it. I do believe that Buddhism is misunderstood (perhaps I have misunderstood it myself in the past), and this documentary really opens it up and explains it in the best way possible. There is a lot to learn and be taken in from the teachings of the Buddha and this film is a great place to start that.
This is a wonderful documentary, and one that deserves a place in every home. Whether you follow Buddhism or not, it is still interesting and worth having some knowledge about. I would put this into the ‘must see’ pile, and this is an example of wonderfully storytelling. You may have heard the same story time and time again, but the way it is presented here it comes off as fresh. A stunning and beautiful piece, if only all documentaries could be this soothing.
The Australian DVD
Audio/Video: The video is a 16:9 widescreen presentation. Picture quality is absolutely stunning, very vibrant and sharp. Audio is presented with Dolby 2.0,
Extras: This DVD has no extras.
Thanks to Ben from MadMan for his support.