Rituals of impermanence

    RELIGION: 20,000 female Tibetan Buddhist Monks offer a glimpse into their religious exploration of life’s biggest questions.
    Director: Jin Huaqing
    Producer: Tutu LI, Enxy Wu
    Country: China

    Dark Red Forest is not a documentary driven forward by an eventful narrative designed to entertain — but neither are the lives it depicts. More than ten thousand nuns residing around Yarchen Monastery on the Tibetan Plateau, which lies in the Sichuan province of China, have dedicated their lives to introspective prayer and meditation routines, far away from everyday distractions. The monastery has striven to preserve the ways of Tibetan Buddhism since the Cultural Revolution that established communism in China in the ‘60s.

    The nuns, cloaked in identical crimson robes that merge them into one dotted mass against the white snows of the harsh mountain cold (the settlement sits at an altitude of four thousand metres), practice retreats in tiny meditation cells during the coldest one hundred days of the year. It’s a rigorous and stripped-back existence of ritual and reflection in an unforgiving climate. Arriving at the monastery when young, they often . . .

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    Carmen Gray
    Freelance film critic and regular contributor to Modern Times Review.
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