Sharchen Dzong Film Society
The Sharchen Dzong Film Society is dedicated to bringing great film to our community for free. We present films that examine themes such as devotion, intention, transformation, happiness, healing, suffering, connection, impermanence and the illusory nature of experience.
Consider movie night an opportunity to try one of the many nearby restaurants before joining us for the film. If there is a film you’d like us to show, send an email to film [at] sharchendzong [dot] org.
Digital Dharma (90m / 2012) is the chronicle of a cultural rescue. This feature-length documentary brings to light the magnitude of one man’s inspirational 50-year quest to save the literary history of a disappearing culture and to preserve early lessons of mankind’s consciousness.
The life of E. Gene Smith is an epic story of destiny and compassion that leads a pacifist on a mission of survival. In an era of espionage and mistrust, Gene’s mission becomes the catalyst for an international movement to save ancient writing and art from crumbling, literally, to dust… and then deliver them to the entire world.
This powerfully moving account crosses multiple borders… geographical, political and philosophical… Because the humanitarian and academic efforts to protect the Tibetan culture by finding and preserving thousand-year-old documents, is not only a contribution to the Tibetan people… it is a contribution to all of humanity. From the medical to the mystical – 1500 years of invaluable teachings that chronicle the advancements of mankind. These documents include the Tibetans’ original contributions as well as the traditional works of the great Indian scholars and masters, which were systematically documented and preserved in Tibet. As our world’s political and cultural borders shift, Gene Smith’s mission to protect all knowledge and its far-reaching contributions becomes critical.
Date: Friday, August 8th
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
With an insane asylum standing in for everyday society, Milos Forman’s 1975 film adaptation of Ken Kesey’s novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (134m / 1975) is a comically sharp indictment of the Establishment urge to conform.
Playing crazy to avoid prison work detail, manic free spirit Randle P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is sent to the state mental hospital for evaluation. There he encounters a motley crew of mostly voluntary inmates, including cowed mama’s boy Billy (Brad Dourif) and silent Native American Chief Bromden (Will Sampson), presided over by the icy Nurse Ratched (Louise Fletcher).
Ratched and McMurphy recognize that each is the other’s worst enemy: an authority figure who equates sanity with correct behavior, and a misfit who is charismatic enough to dismantle the system simply by living as he pleases. McMurphy proceeds to instigate group insurrections large and small, ranging from a restorative basketball game to an unfettered afternoon boat trip and a tragic after-hours party with hookers and booze. Nurse Ratched, however, has the machinery of power on her side to ensure that McMurphy will not defeat her. Still, McMurphy’s message to live free or die is ultimately not lost on one inmate, revealing that escape is still possible even from the most oppressive conditions.
Date: Friday, September 12th
Fall 2014 Film Schedule
Exit Through the Gift Shop
Exit Through the Gift Shop (87m / 2010) marks the feature-film debut of notorious street artist Banksy. The documentary’s focus is French-born L.A. thrift-shop owner Thierry Guetta, whose apparent compulsion to videotape every moment of his life led him to document the phenomenon of contemporary street art. Guetta’s cousin, a street artist known as Space Invader, allowed the avid cameraman to tape him as he illegally spread his artwork, and Space Invader also introduced him to other street artists, whose work Guetta captured on tape.
Thanks to Guettta’s growing reputation among street artists, the two eventually meet and form a sort of partnership. Guetta even videotapes Banksy’s infamous “Gitmo” prank at Disneyland, wherein a handcuffed, hooded figure in an orange jumpsuit is placed beside one of the rides. They get along quite well until Banksy suggests that Guetta stop shooting, take the countless hours of footage he’s accumulated, and start assembling them into a documentary.
Date: Friday, October 17th
When The Iron Bird Flies
In 1959, the Chinese invasion of Tibet threw open the doors to the mysterious realm of Tibetan Buddhism and suddenly this rich, ancient tradition was propelled into the modern world. Half a century later, Padmasambhava’s prophecy has come true and the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism are found in every corner of the earth.
When The Iron Bird Flies (96m / 2012) takes us on an up-close and personal journey following the astounding path of one of the world’s great spiritual traditions from the caves of Tibet to the mainstream of Western culture. Along the way, the film tackles the provocative exchanges between Buddhist practitioners and scholars and Western scientists, psychologists, and educators now at the heart of the emergence of a genuine Western tradition of Buddhism.
And the film investigates the question: “In these increasingly challenging times, can these profound teachings help us find genuine happiness and create a saner, more compassionate 21st century world?”
Through candid interviews with contemporary teachers and practitioners, rare archival footage, and striking images of modern life that illuminate and make accessible the Buddha’s core teachings, the film creates a vivid and entertaining portrait of the world of Tibetan Buddhism, as it is manifesting in America and the West.
Date: Friday, November 21st
Good Night And Good Luck
Joseph McCarthy, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin, was generating no small amount of controversy in the public and private sectors with his allegations that Communists had risen to positions of power and influence in America, and an Air Force pilot, Milo Radulovich, had been drummed out of the service due to McCarthy’s charges that he was a Communist agent. However, Radulovich had been dismissed without a formal hearing of the charges, and he protested that he was innocent of any wrongdoing. Murrow decided to do a story on Radulovich’s case questioning the legitimacy of his dismissal, which was seen by McCarthy and his supporters as an open challenge to his campaign.
McCarthy responded by accusing Murrow of being a Communist, leading to a legendary installment of See It Now in which both Murrow and McCarthy presented their sides of the story, which was seen by many as the first step toward McCarthy’s downfall. Meanwhile, Murrow had to deal with CBS head William Paley (Frank Langella), who was supportive of Murrow but extremely wary of his controversial positions, while Murrow was also trying to support fellow newsman Don Hollenbeck (Ray Wise), battling charges against his own political views, and working alongside Fred Friendly (George Clooney), the daring head of CBS News.
Date: Friday, December 19th
Films We Show
There are many films that explore contemplative themes from a variety wisdom traditions. Films such as these offer the general audience an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the many diverse forms of buddhism.
The film society regularly presents a selection of exceptional and hard-to-find dharma films.
Mainstream film can be described as commercial films that have a wide release and play in first run theaters. The boundary is vague. Mainstream suggests middle-of-the-road and implies commercial viability, sometimes implying that the commercial viability is tantamount to a loss of artistic creativity.
The film society presents a wide selection of mainstream films that provide though-provoking and inspiring stories which some may consider dharmic.
Experimental film is often characterized by the absence of linear narrative, the use of various abstracting techniques (out of focus, painting or scratching on film, rapid editing), the use of asynchronous sound or even the absence of any sound track.
The goal is often to place the viewer in a more active and thoughtful relationship to the film. The terms avant-garde and undergroundhave been used to describe films that today are commonly called experimental cinema.
The film society presents a selection of experimental films that provide our audience the opportunity to experience beginner’s mind.
Our community includes a diverse and extraordinary group of filmmakers making films that examine issues both personal and universal in a wide range of styles and genres, including: animation, experimental, drama, documentaries and others.
Contact: For more information, please send an email to:
film [at] sharchendzong [dot] org.