My Reincarnation

Details

My Reincarnation
Directed by Jennifer Fox
Long Shot Factory
Opens October 28
A mellow doc that seems all set to cash in on the “spirituality” market, Jennifer Fox’s new film was actually in production for more than 20 years, beginning when Yeshi Silvano Namkhai was a half-Italian acne-victim teen just learning that he’d been dubbed the reincarnation of a famous Tibetan yogi. The judgment was passed down by his world-famous Tibetan spiritual-leader dad, Rinpoche Chögyal Namkhai Norbu, and Fox wastes no time or footage placing the rebel-Euro-son-versus-iron-man-Asian-dad dynamic front and center. It’s a juicy setup that begs for a thick Oprah novel, not get-in-get-out nonfiction. In fact, Fox’s briskness leaves certain questions gaping open. As in, how cynical and derisive is she deliberately being of Rinpoche’s teachings, since all we get are trite homilies and vague advice? (In a seconds-long consultation, one terrified HIV-positive seeker is told, “Everything is relative.”) Can you film Buddhist instruction without seeming skeptical? Are Yeshi’s years of reticence regarding his appointed destiny an avoidance of “truth” or self-help baloney? Fox ends up clearly on Rinpoche’s team, but her film suggests a deep wariness with Eastern mysticism, of the needy Westerners who lap it up, and with figures like Rinpoche who exploit that jones. Which makes it, perhaps unintentionally, pointed and daring.
 
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9 comments
Danielle Russell
Danielle Russell

hello villagevoice! I don't believe in reincarnation but even if I am reincarnated as a pig , think I won't mind it at all if I will be killed just for food. I will just have to wait another adventure because I will be reincarnated a s a cow after being turned into a bacon. Being contented is key key to 2nd happiness. The primary thing that will give you joy is Jesus.

Andrie
Andrie

I speak from the the teachings of the Lotus Sutra which is the final Sutra in his life and and the culmination of the Buddhas teachings. It is the highest because it declares that even women can attain enlightment where the sutras before that they discriminate women to. The reason I speak in this way is because the principles of Buddhism are being deviated for personal gain or recognition and yet I fail to reproach and take measures to correct them then am being untrue and betray the teachings. Everyone is an entity of the Mystic Law of Nam-myoho-Renge KYo . peace to you

Andrie
Andrie

As a Buddhist, Sitting through the entire of this film was the hardest thing to do because it gives the wrong impression about Buddhism to the world.

yaksha
yaksha

Yet another review which proves why the average writer for, as well as reader of, the Voice will never "get" Buddhism. To be modern is to reserve the right to be cynical, without realizing that cynicism essentially signals the end of sincerity and therefore of possibility. The VV culture of sex, drugs and RnR is merely misplaced passion, cultivated as a pathetic response in rejecting the oppressive culture generated by the "one percent" ruling class. Got karma, anyone?

Lisa
Lisa

Michael, I don't think you're being particularly fair with this film in assuming the worst about the director's and Norbu's intentions. I am not a buddhist or particularly spiritual person, but I was very impressed with "My Reincarnation," which seemed to me, first and foremost a film about a complex relationship between a father and son and inherited identity. I never got a sense that either the filmmaker or the master are particularly cynical or exploitative people. If anything, I though Ms. Fox did a very good job of remaining fairly neutral by respecting Norbu's and his son's beliefs without ever prosthelytizing. I get the impression that the critic is far more cynical than the filmmaker.

Jdworkin
Jdworkin

I also saw the film on Tuesday and was tremendously impressed - it is an truly intimate film that is clearly build on respect and admiration over the course of twenty years - an extraordinary span that allow us to watch a young man through the formative years of his life as he confronts and comes to terms with his heritage as both an Italian teenager and a reincarnation of a great teacher. The film is the opposite of cynical - its presentation of Rinpoche and his son as they struggle to understand each other seems both clear-eyed and warm.

Claire Z
Claire Z

i went to this film's premiere tuesday night, listened to the Q&A, and this was not my interpretation at all. yes, the doc is mellow, and yes, the father-son dynamic adds a level of intrigue. but as for any exploitative ulterior motives on the part of the filmmaker, i can't say that jennifer fox has any—i detected nothing cynical in the film at all. why would anyone spend 20 years of her life, not to mention countless dollars in a country that is already tough on *truly* independent filmmakers, chronicling the life of a prominent spiritual leader(s) just to make fun of his religion and followers? short answer: she wouldn't. i'd be interested to know how others who have seen the film feel.

Andrie
Andrie

My friend I dont think you understand Buddhism . I am practicing Buddhism for many years and this are not the correct teachings of Buddhism !! The writer is right to criticize the uncompassionate and insensitive guidance of the priest to the people coming to him in despair. His guidance was empty and meaningless if not bizzare. . Even his son questioned his fathers harshness and anti Buddhist behavior. People need to question everything. The writer was absolutely correct in his critic. Unfortunately in every religion there are false sages. Buddhism equals to daily life. To prove the validity of any teaching if is correct or not you show it in how you conduct yourself as a human being to your self and others. Nothing that this priest was doing. the Buddha awakened to the fact that we are all equal and we dont need sages to find our own enlightenment because we all inherently posses the Buddha nature.

Negafulobooks
Negafulobooks

There are more styles of Buddhist practice than merely one! No need to be intolerant of teachings you may not know. Intolerance of diversity doesn't strike me as a Buddhist virtue either...just saying...

 

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