×

Digital Dharma

A divinely inspired gift for those devoted to Buddhism, preservation and/or a free Tibet, "Digital Dharma" is also an affectionate tribute to the late E. Gene Smith, the scholar, librarian and ex-Mormon who waged a 50-year struggle to save the endangered texts of Tibetan Buddhism.

With:
With: E. Gene Smith, Matthieu Ricard, Gray Tuttle, Richard S. Lanier, Leonard Van Der Kuijp, Mangaram Kashyup, Khyentse Norbu. (Tibetan, English dialogue)

A divinely inspired gift for those devoted to Buddhism, preservation and/or a free Tibet, “Digital Dharma” is also an affectionate tribute to the late E. Gene Smith, the scholar, librarian and ex-Mormon who waged a 50-year struggle to save the endangered texts of Tibetan Buddhism. Dafna Yachin’s specialty docu is richly informative, not only about Smith’s life and his place in the troubled history of Tibet, but also about the intersection of ancient work and new technologies. Fest and educational circuits will benefit, as will such venues as New York’s Buddhist-centric Rubin Museum.

Yachin’s prime achievement lies in making several knotty concepts not just palatable but engrossing, including the thorny history of Tibet under Chinese subjugation and the meaning of expansive texts to the practice of Tibetan Buddhism (there is no single volume, like the Bible or Koran). The docu also delves into what advances in technology have meant to preservationists, who can scan untranslated content and condense thousands of pages (one lama, wearing a flash drive around his neck, calls it his “amulet”). Smith, who died before the film was completed, provides a wise, gentle and knowing presence throughout.

Popular on Variety

Digital Dharma

Documentary

Production: A Lunchbox Communications presentation. Produced by Dafna Yachin. Executive producer, Yachin. Directed by Dafna Yachin. Written by Arthur Fischman, Tim Gates, Yachin.

Crew: Camera (color), Wade Muller; editor, Gates; music, Michael Aharon; art director, Andrea Bitai; sound, Rajesh Kumar; line producer, Tamela Knapp; associate producer, Danielle Wells. Reviewed on DVD, Aug. 20, 2012. (In DocuWeeks.) Running time: 90 MIN.

With: With: E. Gene Smith, Matthieu Ricard, Gray Tuttle, Richard S. Lanier, Leonard Van Der Kuijp, Mangaram Kashyup, Khyentse Norbu. (Tibetan, English dialogue)

More Film

  • Jimmy Stewart Lisa Lu

    New Book ‘Hollywood Chinese’ Dives Into Forgotten History

    Growing up in San Francisco’s Chinatown neighborhood during the 1960s, Chinese American filmmaker and author Arthur Dong saw plenty of people who looked like him in his community. But on-screen at the movies was a different story: Portrayals of Asian people leaned heavily into stereotypes or, worse, were outright offensive and with many roles played [...]

  • Waltz For Monica

    Swedish Publishing Icon Inspires Project by 'Waltz for Monica' Screenwriter

    Peter Birro, the successful Swedish screenwriter of “438 Days” and “Waltz for Monica,” has partnered with prominent journalist and producer Christina Birro to develop the screenplay for “Elda & Amelia,” a story inspired by the life and career of publishing executive and businesswoman Amelia Adamo and her mother. Naima Abed and Emilie Georges, whose production [...]

  • CBS HEADQUARTERS

    CBS-Viacom Merger Details Revealed, Shares to Trade on Nasdaq

    Negotiations between CBS and Viacom went down to the wire on the day the long-gestating transaction was finally sealed on Aug. 13. CBS Corp. and Viacom revealed the timeline of the merger talks in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Thursday that runs more than 650 pages. Also Thursday, CBS and Viacom said the shares [...]

  • The Jesus Rolls

    Rome Film Review: 'The Jesus Rolls'

    The Jesus lives! The oddball bowling obsessive immortalized by John Turturro in “The Big Lebowski” resurfaces two decades later in “The Jesus Rolls,” a road movie every bit as eccentric as the character he played in the 1998 cult favorite. In a way, the “Lebowski” connection does a disservice to Turturro’s film — an in-spirit [...]

  • Abominable

    Malaysia Orders Cuts to 'Abominable' Over Controversial Map Scene

    Malaysia has ordered cuts to the U.S.-Chinese animated feature “Abominable,” which includes a scene involving a map that portrays China’s contested territorial claims in the South China Sea. The map scene has already caused the film to be banned in Vietnam. The Philippines’ foreign minister, Teodoro Locsin, called this week for “Abominable” to be boycotted, [...]

  • Kung Fu Panda 3

    Universal's Beijing Resort to Partner With Alibaba on Digitization

    Amid fierce controversy about the leverage China has over U.S. entertainment firms with significant mainland operations, Universal Beijing Resort and Alibaba announced a strategic partnership Thursday to digitize the forthcoming theme park in China’s capital. Facial recognition and the use of big data will be the norm at the new resort, which will use an [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content