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Daniel Hiu Tung Chan,
Graceful but flawed depiction of the life of Buddha
Shaka is an epic tale about the life of Buddha Shakamuni. Although produced by Daiei Corporation of Japan, much of the filming seem to have taken place in the Phillipines, and Phillipina actress Charito Solis plays the part of Shddhartha's wife Yashodara. The story is made of twelve story segments in the following order:
1. Birth of Buddha 2. Marriage of Siddhartha 3. Siddhartha renounces the world 4. Yashodara is seduced by Devadatta 5. Siddhartha attains enlightenment and becomes the Buddha 6. Kalika converts to Buddhism 7. Tragic story of Prince Kumara 8. Devadatta convinces prince Ajashartu to kill his father 9. Matangi seduces Ananda using black magic 10. Devadatta schemes to kill all the monks 11. Devadatta is defeated and converts to Buddhism 12. Buddha enters Nirvana
The story is told gracefully but is not an accurate historic depiction of the life of Buddha - although essence of Buddhism is conveyed as much as possible and still maintain entertainment value. In some ways it's regrettable because with all the effort that went into the production of this movie, they could have hired a historic consultant and made the story line more accurate and tighter. Special effects are weak, and acting could have been better as these actors are top actors in Japan of that era, and have done much better jobs in other movies. So, I wish there was more effort put into production and directing. But it is one of a kind movie and has its place in the history of movie making.
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