International Film Circuit, Inc.
An (ir)reverent portrait of
Dzongsar Khyentse Norbu Rinpoche
a film by Lesley Ann Patten
Bernardo Bertolucci and Steven Seagal
And music by
produced by Lesley Ann Patten for ZIJI Film & Television Ltd., and
Kent Martin for The National Film Board of Canada
Canada - Color - 103 min - 35mm - Digital Surround Sound
Wendy Lidell 212-777-5690
WORDS OF MY
A film by Lesley Ann Patten
From the streets of London and New York to the World Cup in Germany to the mystical mountain kingdom of Bhutan, Words of My Perfect Teacher follows three students on a quest for spiritual enlightenment. Buddhism teaches that to walk the path toward true enlightenment you must have a teacher. These students are ready to be taught the path, there is only one small snag: their teacher.
Meet Dzongsar Khyentse Norbu Rinpoche. He may be one of the world’s most eminent Buddhist teachers, but it’s a job description he slyly rejects at every turn. A citizen of the world and as fascinated by soccer and filmmaking, Dzongsar Khyentse constantly confounds all attempts at easy categorization.
Taking its title from the writings of 13th-century Tibetan Lama Patrul Rinpoche, the film’s point of view is inspired by Buddhist philosophy — which says that we can’t really change human behavior until we learn to deal with our mind. The mind is the starting point of all suffering and the source of closed hearts and entrenched views. Dzongsar Khyentse teaches by defying easy definition, forcing his students to turn inward and confront their own expectations and desires.
When filmmaker Lesley Ann Patten informed Dzongsar Khyentse that she wished to make a film about him, he performed a “mo” or spiritual divination, to predict the outcome. The result he reported: “barely enough grass to feed a goat for half a day.” Patten sets out to make a film about her teacher, but he quickly turns the tables on her, and the film becomes part of the filmmaker’s own quest for spiritual growth. Words of My Perfect Teacher lets us share this quest as we accompany Patten on a delightful and intimate adventure. Featuring appearances by Bernardo Bertolucci and Steven Seagal. Filmed in the UK, Bhutan, Canada, the US, and the World Cup playoffs in Germany. Set to a world beat with music by Sting, Tara Slone & Joy Drop, Steve Tibbets, U.Man.Tek, Kunga 19, and others. Words of My Perfect Teacher is for those who wish they’d met Yoda or Merlin, and long for the opportunity to engage with a teacher who defies convention.
Cast of Characters
Dzongsar Khyentse Norbu Rinpoche – Born in the remote mountains of Bhutan in 1961, Dzongsar Khyentse was recognized at the age of seven to be the third incarnation (tulku) of nineteenth-century master Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo. “Rinpoche,” an appellation of his station, literally means “precious jewel.” A son of Bhutanese nobility and third in line from the Dalai Lama, obsessed with soccer and the cinema, he is also Bhutan’s first filmmaker, consulting on Bertolucci’s Little Buddha in 1993 and going on to write and direct 1999’s The Cup and 2004’s Travelers and Magicians. Norbu is not your stereotypical Buddhist teacher, by turns sincere and playfully enigmatic.
Steven Seagal – Actor, martial artist, teacher, activist and practicing Buddhist, Steven Seagal surprised the world when he revealed in 1997 that he had been recognized as the reincarnation (tulku) of the treasure revealer Chungdrag Dorje of Palyul Monastery. “One of the great marks of a great teacher,” he says, “is, in fact, nobody knows for sure if he’s an idiot or a great master.”
Bernardo Bertolucci The internationally renowned filmmaker, whose credits include Last Tango In Paris, The Last Emperor, The Conformist and The Dreamers. In 1993, Bertolucci recruited Dzongsar Khyentse to provide spiritual advice...
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