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Wheel of Time (2003)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 30 October 2003 (Germany)
Wheel of Time is Werner Herzog's photographed look at the largest Buddhist ritual in Bodh Gaya, India.

Director:

Werner Herzog

Writer:

Werner Herzog

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Cast

Credited cast:
The Dalai Lama ... Himself
Lama Lhundup Woeser Lama Lhundup Woeser ... Himself
Takna Jigme Sangpo Takna Jigme Sangpo ... Himself
Matthieu Ricard Matthieu Ricard ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Madhureeta Anand Madhureeta Anand ... Himself
Tenzin Dhargye Tenzin Dhargye ... Himself
Ven. Geshe Ven. Geshe ... Himself
Werner Herzog ... Himself (voice)
Manfred Klell Manfred Klell ... Himself
Chungdak D. Koren Chungdak D. Koren ... Himself
Thupten Tsering Mukhimsar Thupten Tsering Mukhimsar ... Himself
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Storyline

Wheel of Time is Werner Herzog's photographed look at the largest Buddhist ritual in Bodh Gaya, India.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

buddhist | See All (1) »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Germany | Austria | Italy

Language:

German | English | Tibetan

Release Date:

30 October 2003 (Germany) See more »

Also Known As:

Ajan pyörä See more »

Filming Locations:

Tibet, China See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Quotes

The Dalai Lama: All religions carry same message. Message of love, compassion, forgiveness, tolerance, contentment, self-discipline. I think we need these qualities, irrespective of whether we are believer or non-believer, because these are the source of a happy life.
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User Reviews

 
More anthropological than spiritual.
24 November 2003 | by inkblot185See all my reviews

This film is an exploration of several Tibetan Buddhist rituals, and centers around an initiation in India attended by hundreds of thousands of Himalayan devotees, many of whom arrive after punishing pilgrimages that, in one case, took up to three and a half years. As Cinema this film excels. Herzog places himself in the midst of the throng. The faces he captures tell a thousand stories. Yet the actual stories are few and far between. There is a cool detachment in this film that gives it an anthropological feel. Herzog admitted in a live discussion after the screening that he had little familiarization with Buddhism, and reluctantly took this assignment after several requests only after the Dalai Lama himself personally asked him to do it. There is little to be learned here about the ritual itself, as the film focuses mostly on the attendees. Herzog seems uninterested in the meaning behind the sometimes strange-seeming actions of the devoted monks, and focuses instead on observation. While this is a smart approach for a film-maker on one hand, since any attempt to explain this complicated philosophical system would undoubtably fall short, I was left wanting more. If I can make a somewhat strange metaphor: it was like seeing a documentary on the Superbowl, which focused on Americans traveling from all over the country, standing in long lines, paying large sums of money to get in, drinking beer, shouting and cheering at the field, or shouting at television screens, waving strange banners around, and possibly braving rain, snow or blizzard to see it--without ever really going into what football is. Long shots of haggard faces and people doing "the wave" would be compelling to watch, but wouldn't give a true picture of the event. If you're interested in seeing a fly-on-the-wall observation of a very interesting and different aspect of the human experience, this film succeeds. But if you are interested in understanding the Kalachakra ritual, or learning more about Buddhism, then, like me, you'll be left unsatisfied. Perhaps the film is mistitled. The title, "Wheel of Time", somehow promised something different to me. A more apt title would be something like, "Naked Devotion".


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