6.8/10
255
5 user 13 critic

Monk with a Camera (2014)

Not Rated | | Documentary, Biography, News | 24 March 2014 (USA)
Nicholas Vreeland walked away from a worldly life of privilege to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Grandson of legendary Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, and trained by Irving Penn to become a ... See full summary »

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(co-director), (co-director)

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
... Himself
Khyongla Rinpoche ... Himself
Nicky Vreeland ... Himself
Alexander Vreeland ... Himself
John Avedon ... Himself
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Tonne Goodman ... Himself
Wendy Goodman ... Herself
Priscilla Rattazzi ... Herself
... Himself
Frecky Vreeland ... Himself
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Storyline

Nicholas Vreeland walked away from a worldly life of privilege to become a Tibetan Buddhist monk. Grandson of legendary Vogue editor, Diana Vreeland, and trained by Irving Penn to become a photographer, Nicholas' life changed drastically upon meeting a Tibetan master, one of the teachers of the Dalai Lama. Soon thereafter, he gave up his glamorous life to live in a monastery in India, where he studied Buddhism for fourteen years. In an ironic twist of fate, Nicholas went back to photography to help his fellow monks rebuild their monastery. Recently, the Dalai Lama appointed Nicholas as Abbot of the monastery, making him the first Westerner in Tibetan Buddhist history, to attain such a highly regarded position. Written by Anonymous

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Dandy. Playboy. Seeker. See more »


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Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

24 March 2014 (USA)  »

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Soundtracks

Bonaparte's Retreat
Traditional
performed by Mike Seeger
Smithsonian Folkways SFW40193
© 2006
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User Reviews

 
Celebrating Wealthy White Men in Guise of Spirituality
25 July 2015 | by See all my reviews

This film celebrates the photographic skill and fund raising acumen of a well-connected trained photographer from a wealthy family who became a Buddhist monk in India in the 1970s. I didn't discern any special spiritual depth in his Buddhist practice that would earn him this kind of attention. I have to conclude that it is just the fact that he is still connected enough to the worlds of fashion, photography and New York wealth that makes him supposedly worthy of starring in a film that will be watched mostly by people interested in Buddhism or monastic life. Vreeland is a likable and unassuming guy, so it's not difficult to watch a film about his life. So long as you are OK with watching the story of unearned privilege rather than spirituality, you may enjoy the film.

The documentary fails to address the critical issue raised above, and builds to a climax in which the Dali Lama honors the monk-with- a-camera by making him the Abbott of the monastery he financed with his wealthy connections, his photography skills and some pretty fancy camera equipment for a renunciate to own and store in a locked room. We also are supposed to be impressed by this monk chumming around with the Dali Lama and Richard Gere.

We get it: Rich white men will always get more than their share of attention. Their ability to raise money will be rewarded by everyone, even the Dali Lama. However, the money spent to make this film would have been better spent on additions to the monastery, charity or a social justice product.


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