This is one of the finest non-verbal films I’ve come across so even better that it is also connected with Buddhism, being taken at a remote Zen temple in the Japanese Alps.
The images start with the magnificent mountains, before descending to one of the cities and then on into the monastery, where we follow the highly ritualised lives of the monks and nuns.
Besides the landscapes, there are some truly memorable scenes, like the monastics on alms round, the unrolling of the scriptures, and even the taking of a meal, all of which become slightly surreal under the watchful eye of the camera.
The film was made by Fabian Enzinger for The Academy Of Media Arts in 1999, and features music by Virgil Enzinger and also by Michael Stearns, whose work in this field is well-known (Baraka, Chronos, etc).
Here are the music credits:
00:00 – 10:15 Michael Stearns
10:15 – 13:20 Virgil Enzinger
13:20 – 14:45 Michael Stearns
14:45 – 24:00 Virgil Enzinger
24:00 – 28:36 Michael Stearns
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Some Stills from the Documentary