Documentary about famed Vietnamese Buddhist monk to hit local screens

By Staff reporters   February 23, 2018 | 01:56 am PT
The release of the film about Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh has been delayed for three months in Vietnam.

"Walk With Me", a documentary about the world renowned Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh, is set to be in cinemas in Vietnam from March 2.

The meditative film, shot over three years by film-makers Marc J Francis and Max Pugh, offers a cinematic journey into the world of a monastic community that practices the art of mindfulness with Zen Buddhist Master Thich Nhat Hanh.

With unprecedented access, the film is "a meditative and intimate insight into a community of Buddhist monks and nuns who have given up all their possessions, left their homes and parted with their life savings for one common purpose – to practice of the art of mindfulness and the teachings" of Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, according to the official website of the documentary.

Directors Francis and Pugh followed the 91-year-old Vietnamese teacher into the depths of winter in a monastery in France, then traveled to Europe and North America; from Vancouver to Mississippi, New York Washington, San Diego and London.

The Oscar-nominated, Emmy Award winner Benedict Cumberbatch, reciting Hanh’s writings from his journal, provides voice-over throughout the film.

Since its premiere in Germany last September, "Walk With Me" has received critical acclaim for being a calming light in the current chaotic world.

Jeannette Catsoulis of the New York Times praised the over-one-hour-and-a-half documentary for being “cooling to the mind and soothing to the spirit”, which “offers a tiny oasis of relief to anyone overheated by current events.”

Peter Bradshaw wrote in The Guardian in January that “it is a relief, and a palate cleanser, to watch a documentary concerned with quietness, stillness and contemplation.”

Thich Nhat Hanh is known worldwide for his teachings of mindfulness and spiritual focus on the here and the now.

Becoming a monk at the age of 23, he is considered the second most influential Buddhist leader in the West, after the Dalai Lama. He is also a poet and peace activist.

In the 1960s, he spearheaded a movement of Buddhists in South Vietnam that called for a negotiated end to the Vietnam War. He left Vietnam in 1966 and has lived in France for years. The Zen Master returned for a one-week visit to the country last year.

Thich Nhat Hanh was nominated for the Nobel Prize by Martin Luther King, Jr., in 1967, and is the author of more than 100 books, including the best-selling "The Miracle of Mindfulness".

“Walk With Me” was originally slated to screen in Vietnam last November, but the release was delayed until March.

It is released under the Vietnamese title “Buoc Chan An Lac” in local cinemas.

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