Staging Zen Buddhism: Image Creation in Contemporary Films

  • Author(s): Elisabetta Porcu
  • When: 2014-03
  • Where: Contemporary Buddhism
  • In this paper, I analyse the image creation of Zen Buddhism as emerges from films produced in Europe and North America. In particular, I explore Marc Rosenbush's Zen Noir (2004), Zen & Zero by Michael Ginthv?r (2006), and Erleuchtung Garantiert (1999) by Doris Dorrie. Comparatively, I examine a recent Japanese production on the life and teachings of the Soto Zen master D╦ťogen titled Zen and directed by Takahashi Banmei (2009). The aim of this analysis is to explore if and how depictions of Zen in western movies mirror representations of this religious tradition made ad hoc for the "West" and, conversely, what is the image of Zen Buddhism as appears in Japanese productions. This will be considered in a comparative perspective in order to identify differences, possible common patterns and mutual influences which may have shaped the cinematic perception of this form of Japanese Buddhism in Europe and North America.

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