This is a very unusual movie made in Hindi in 1988 by Nabendu Ghosh based on a short story by Saradindu Bandopadhyay and inspired by the Buddha’s Fire Sermon.
The play is set some time after the Asokan missions and is positioned in an oasis in Central Asia which is overrun by a sand storm, which leaves virtually all of its inhabitants dead.
Four only survive: two monks and two children. The monks take it as their duty to raise the children and teach them Dharma, but as they reach adulthood the passions of youth start showing.
The film, which is almost a chamber play brought to the screen, explores the psychology of desire arising in the growing children, and in the younger monk who struggles to overcome his passion.
It has to be said that the film makers were badly advised about the vinaya aspects of the film, which are incorrect in many ways, but as the film is about the psychology of desire, rather than the finer points of the monastic life, this can be overlooked.
One more gripe has to be that the only female character is positioned in the film as the source and embodiment of desire, which the men have to struggle with, leaving her character objectified and lacking in depth.
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