DER Documentary

To The Land of Bliss

by Wen-jie Qin
color, 47 min, 2002




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To the Land of Bliss is an intimate portrayal of the Chinese Pure Land Buddhist way of dying and living. In 1998, the filmmaker/anthropologist Wen-jie Qin returned to her home region in Sichuan Province in southwest China to research the post-Mao revival of Buddhism. During her fieldwork on the sacred mountain Emei, an eminent monk named Jue Chang passed away. People in the community laughed and cried at the departure of their beloved teacher. They gathered to escort his body through a rite of fire and to observe his consciousness rise to a paradise known as the Land of Bliss of Amita Buddha.

The filmmaker captured some of the wonders and mystery from her search with these Chinese Pure Land Buddhists for the door to Amita Buddha, the Buddha of Infinite Light and Infinite Life.

. . . . The film is done with candor and sensitivity. It is informed enough to respect the voices of the people being filmed, but edited with a certain innocence that lets the humanity of its subjects shine through . . . . [I]t gives us a short peek into Buddhism on the ground, as seen by contemporary Chinese Buddhists. — Professor Luis O. Gomez, University of Michighan

Film Festivals, Screenings, Awards
Göttingen International Ethnographic Film Festival, Germany, 2002
Beeld voor Beeld Festival, Amsterdam, 2002
New England Film & Video Festival, Boston, 2002
Boston Museum of Fine Arts Film Program, 2002
4th Annual Roxbury Film Festival, Massachusetts, 2002
Grand Prize, Prize for Film about Oriental Religion, and Prize for film dealing with Religion and Suffering and Dying, Religion Today, International Festival of Cinema & Religion, Italy, 2002
EthnoFilm Fest, Berlin, 2002
Award of Commendation, Society for Visual Anthropology, American Anthropological Association Screening Program, 2002
Siver Medal in Documentary, 36th New York EXPOsition of Short Film & Video, 2002
forumdoc.bh.2002, Documentary & Ethnographic Film Festival of Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Algonquin Indiefest, Pennsylvania & New Jersey, 2003
Harvard Film Archive, 2003
Northeastern Anthropological Association Film Festival, Burlington, Vermont, 2003
Durango Film Festival, Colorado, 2003
8th RAI International Festival of Ethnographic Film, London, 2003
Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, New York, 2003
American Psychological Association Annual Convention, Toronto, Canada, 2003

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