April 09 only

Soto Zen priest & guiding teacher at Dragons Leap Meditation Center, Michael Wenger* plus filmmaker & Buddhist Film Foundation founder, Gaetano Kazuo Maida*

Provocatively titled, this film is a masterly immersion into life at a Japanese Zen monastery over three seasons. Swiss novice Sabine arrives at Antaiji and, after a brief welcome, she begins to learn the monastery rules: how to bow, sit in the meditation hall, carry out movements with chopsticks, etc. There’s more to life there than meditation, farming, and maintenance, however—there are picnics, music, and Wi-Fi. And after the last snow has melted away, the nuns and monks travel to Osaka, where they recite sutras in front of subway entrances as they solicit offerings in their traditional monk’s robes. Quotes from renowned early twentieth-century Antaiji abbot Koda Sawaki are interjected throughout. Simple and beautifully filmed, this is Into Great Silence meets Enlightenment Guaranteed, with composer Fred Frith performing the eclectic, elegant score. –Freer Gallery of Art.

Director & Cinematography by Werner Penzel. Music by Fred Frith. Germany/Japan. In English, Japanese and German with English subtitles. 2018. DCP. 100 mins.

*Michael Wenger is a Soto Zen priest in the lineage of Shunryu Suzuki-roshi and a dharma heir of Sojun Mel Weitsman. A practitioner of Zen Buddhism since 1972, Michael currently is the guiding teacher at Dragons Leap Meditation Center in San Francisco, and is the author of the book 49 Fingers: A Collection of Modern American Koans. He has previously served as President of the San Francisco Zen Center and was also Dean of Buddhist Studies there.

* Gaetano Kazuo Maida was a founding director of the Buddhist quarterly Tricycle, and was producer/director of Peace Is Every Step, a film profile of Vietnamese Zen teacher/activist Thich Nhat Hanh, narrated by Ben Kingsley. Among his other films as director and/or producer are The Simple Life, On the Luce, Rock Soup, Milarepa, Touching Peace, Robert Bly: A Thousand Years of Joy, and the forthcoming Swans at the Lake. He founded the Buddhist Film Foundation and its International Buddhist Film Festival  in 2000.

NOTE FILMS START RIGHT AT THE LISTED SHOWTIME. Roxie Theater trailers play during the 30 minutes prior to showtime.



ZEN FOR NOTHING: Upcoming Showtimes