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Milarepa: Magician, Murderer, Saint

Plays like a Wikipedia page
By NICK MCCARTHY  |  October 3, 2007
1.0 1.0 Stars
MILAREPA: Mountains, monks, and wailing women, but not the teachings of Milarepa.

All mountains, monks, and a soundtrack of wailing women, Neten Chokling’s film opens with the announcement of a birth. The father of this child exclaims, “This is joyful news!”, and he names the child Thopa Ga, which the subtitle translates as “joyful news.” Thus begins Chokling’s interpretation of the most inspirational saint in Tibet’s history. Although it’s believed that Thopa Ga, who will later become known as Milarepa, faced adversity throughout his life, there’s no sense of suffering here beyond the tiny amount of dirt that accumulates on his face. Despite a photogenic landscape, Milarepa plays like a Wikipedia page, with Chokling using Thopa Ga’s timeline as a cinematic checklist. Trite words of wisdom are scattered throughout the pedantry, the most repeated being “Don’t look back.” Good advice to the viewer, since this simplistic version of Milarepa’s life and teachings against greed and violence leaves little to reflect on.
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