Walk with Me
Narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch, Walk With Me is a cinematic journey into the world of a monastic community who practice the art of mindfulness with Zen Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh.
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★★★★½ review by Andrew Magee on Letterboxd
Lemon Haze plus this movie ❤️
★★★★★ review by garunya on Letterboxd
Walk With Me - Review.
I was led to believe that Walk With Me was a documentary about the life of the venerable Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh. The film was not about that at all. It was a beautiful glimpse into the lives of many of those who follow his teachings (though he does also appear in the film himself quite a lot.)
A lot of the beauty came in very simple things… people leading their lives, chanting, experiencing joy. But another thing I really loved was seeing the practitioners interacting with their previous lives. In some cases, that was them meeting up again with their parents years later, and being delighted at the pure love and joy the parents expressed. In one case it was their non-reaction to a Christian evangelist troll trying to rile them up (another bystander eventually stepped in and owned him in a very satisfying moment).
The only think I think didn’t work was Benedict Cumberbatch. He was listed as the narrator, but actually, his voiceovers are all expressing sử ông (Thích)’s inner thoughts. I’m really not convinced the voice of Smaug was the best choice for that, and it took me right out of the film on several occasions. (even Frank Oz would have been preferable - and btw, Yoda does make an appearance!)
But what it really comes down to is these Zen practitioners conducting their lives, and us witnessing it with beautiful cinematography and even more beautiful sound. It helped that the cinema we went to, Bitexco, has the best sound quality of any I’ve visited in Vietnam. Those bits were my favourite, and in many ways, reminded me of Baraka. Transcending the usual toils of life, and showing us something profound. I really appreciated this, and the ideas, images and sounds are going to be with me for a long, long time.
★★★★ review by Hang Nguyen Luong on Letterboxd
It goes beyond just a mere documentary.
★★★★½ review by Rita on Letterboxd
" At first, it seemed like a passing cloud. But after several hours, I began to feel my body turning to smoke and floating away. I became a faint wisp of a cloud. I had always thought of myself as a solid entity. And suddenly I saw that I am not solid at all. I saw that the entity I had taken to be me was really a fabrication. My true nature, I realized, was much more real, both uglier and more beautiful than I could ever have imagined. "
" Friends want you to appear in the familiar form they know. But that is impossible. How could we continue to live if we were changeless? To live... we must die every instant. We must perish again and again in the storms that make life possible. "
" - I have a doggy, and this doggy died, and I was very sad, so I don't know how to be not so sad.
- This is a very difficult question. Suppose you look into the sky and you see a beautiful cloud. And you like the cloud so much. And suddenly the cloud is no longer there. And you think that the cloud has passed away. Where is my beloved cloud now? So if you have time to reflect, to look, you'll see that the cloud has not died, has not passed away. The cloud has become the rain. And when you look at the rain, you see your cloud. And when you drink your tea mindfully, you can see the rain in your tea and your cloud in your tea. And you can say, ' Hello, my cloud. I know you have not died. You are still alive in a new form. ' So, [for the] doggy [it] is the same. And if you look very deeply, you can see [the] doggy in its new form. "
" When the storm finally passed, layers of inner mortal lay crumbled. On the now-deserted battlefield, a few sunbeams peeked through the horizon, too weak to offer any warmth to my weary soul. I was full of wounds, yet experienced an almost thrilling sense of aloneness. No one would recognize me in my new manifestation. No one close to me would know it was I. "
" Breathing in... I enjoy my in-breath.
Breathing out... I let go of the out-breath. "
" There is a song that we like to sing in Plum Village. ' I have arrived, I am home. ' This is a song of practice... because the practice of mindfulness is to always arrive. Arrive in the here and the now. We have been running a lot... but we have not arrived. We are always looking for something, searching for something, longing for something. And we have not found it. And we continue to run. And we don't know how long... how much more we have to run and look for what we are looking for. Maybe you are looking for some conditions of happiness that we believe we don't have. And running, searching has become a habit. And life and all the wonders of life are available only in the present moment. Because the past is no longer there, the future is not yet there. There's only the present moment. So the practice of mindfulness helps us... to go home to the here and the now
in order for us to learn how to live our life deeply. That way we will not waste our life. "
" Mountains and rivers. Earth and sun. All lie within the heart of consciousness. When that realization arises, time and space dissolve. Cause and effect, birth and death, all vanish. Though I dwell a hundred thousand light-years from a star, I can cross that distance in a flash. "
" A smile can be a beautiful sound. "
" At that moment, I felt perfectly at peace. Not one sad or anxious thought entered my mind. Ideas of past, present and future dissolved. And I was standing at the luminous threshold of a reality that transcends time, space and action. I arose and sat in meditation the rest of the night. All that remained was a deeply rooted peace. I sat like a mountain and I smiled. "
★★★★ review by Sherman Ho on Letterboxd
An important film in today’s world where we are so connected to our gadgets that we stop living in present. It’s difficult to describe the movie, but it takes you on a reflective journey about mindfulness. Although it’s a documentary set in a monastery, the film isn’t really about Buddhism - it is about a way of life. I loved especially a scene where you see an angry preacher preaching in the streets of New York cursing all that do not follow his religion, whilst contrasted with the monks reaction to simply sit peacefully.
Watched at GV Paya Lebar with Simon, Samuel, Adora, Shuchiang and Keng Kiat.
Test screening for SFS.
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