“Buddha Wild: Monk In A Hut” is the first documentary effort for cinematic narrative director, Anna Wilding, and is a discovery into the life and lifestyles of the contemporary Buddhist Monk in Thailand.
The story telling abilities of Ms. Wilding, who acts as narrator and interviewer, are highlighted by the depth of the subject. She has a warm New Zealand accent, a mix of British with a hint of Aussie, and holds the audience captive with soothing sincerity during the majority of the film.
The film offers a glimpse into the monastery world of the Buddhist Monk and the real world of those who follow the precepts and principals of Buddhism. As a believer in Christianity, it was easy to see and understand the relationship that the female sheik shared with Buddha. To her, Buddha and the many faces of Buddha were sweet to her soul. She, at one point, exhibited adoration for Buddha; much like one would exhibit during a description of one’s lover.
The ex-patriots who are interviewed reveal that the yearnings of a soul can move in and through one for an entire life until time and place birth change. They, too, show a lover’s satisfaction when discussing their life now joined with the teachings of Buddha.
The documentary centers on the life of the Buddhist monks. They are a kind lot of warm hearted and enlightened men who are eager to share their religious doctrines of faith. “Buddha Wild” is a journey of discovery. The monks are honest in the telling of their lives, hopes, and disappointments.
They speak freely about their lifestyle, limitedly about the absence of physical closeness and sexual activity, and in depth about the world challenges faced by a Buddhist.
The monks were clearly enamored by Ms. Wilding and their generosity of information regarding taboo subjects exhibits this fact. It appears that being a monk is not so much a calling as a culture. There is a break from the seriousness of the narration with the invitation by one of the Monk’s to visit his hut – hence the title “Monk in a Hut.”
The invitation by the monk to visit his hut was expressed with the innocence of a child. It was heartfelt and offered with the openness of sharing the few earthly possessions he possessed. It developed into a Dr. Seuss rhyme and although Ms. Wilding entered with reverence it is not clear as to whether she understood the enormity of the gesture.
The home of a monk is simple and oddly technologically advanced. The display of the desktop hardware was offset by an animated child’s alarm clock. A small futon style sofa, books, and a choice of elevated bed or floor mattress represents in total the earthly possessions.
The spiritual enlightenment associated with the life of the Buddhist Monk is often portrayed allegorically through the stunning sunsets. The cinematography is breathtaking and the beauty of the countryside is remarkable. It was not clear if the spectacular sunsets and other lush vegetation, were innately captured or a director’s choice. Either way, spiritual enlightenment is often, and more so, found in the moments of silence and that message is very present.
The 60 minute running time captures your attention with intermittent breaks as Ms. Wilding inserts images of herself instead of opting for a more linear linkage that would add to the over-all informational content of Buddha Wild. And with that Ms. Wilding is engaging on camera, with a pleasant and captivating narrative voice.
Anna Wilding and Carpe Diem films, LLC have certainly seized the day with this informative and engaging film. The film has been in limited release in the United States and in New Zealand and has won numerous film festivals. It is not rated.
For connoisseurs of culture and religion, “Buddha Wild: Monk in a Hut,” it is must see!
For more information on Anna Wilding and Buddha Wild: http://www.buddhawild.com