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Review of "Dalai Lama Renaissance" - Montreal World Film Festival

by John Griffin, Montreal Gazette

MONTREAL WORLD FILM FESTIVAL - Khashyar Darvich is another serene soul at the fest. Though punchy from the red-eye from L.A. with his co-editor, Robert McFalls, the director-producer of Dalai Lama Renaissance radiates mindful thinking. Maybe it's the subject.

Darvich's fascinating, ravishingly beautiful and sonically soothing documentary concerns a journey made by 40 innovative Western thinkers to the Dalai Lama's home in the Indian Himalayas just before the new millennium. Their mission was nothing less than synthesizing new ways to fix the world. What unfolds isn't what they expected, but what His Holiness had figured all along. Ego. It's a bitch.

Intercut with the New Age-y speech and cat fights are genuine unassuming pearls of wisdom delivered by the chuckling, child-like Dalai Lama, and some accounts of events that led him into exile after the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1951. Together, they make a provocative, even enlightening, film.

"I had done an earlier interview with the Dalai Lama and was recommended to this group. I had less than eight weeks to find a crew of 18, secure financing, and make the hard trip through India in the rainy season to a place where the power went out every five hours."

Miraculously, Darvich shot 140 hours of film which he and McFalls whittled down to 80 minutes. Harrison Ford narrates.

"Everyone has the ability to make the world better. The only way this film was worth all the time and effort was to have it serve humanity and the world."

Dalai Lama Renaissance screens at Quartier Latin today at 4 p.m. and tomorrow at 5:40 p.m.

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