In this first feature by Brian Perkins, beautifully shot in Myanmar with a cast that includes two actual monks in training, four young Buddhist monks and their abbot live peaceably in a remote mountain monastery. Sights and sounds arise from nature, the boys at play, and their humble devotional routines. Harmony reigns in their simple life. One day the abbot disappears, leaving the young boys to continue their lives of piety, but on their own. As the atmosphere becomes increasingly charged with sounds of gunfire, the young novitiates slowly come to understand the world outside is precarious and, like the monkey chief from a Burmese folk tale, strive to selflessly protect themselves. In this classic coming-of-age tale, the boys must follow the wisdom of their devotional practice. Like the Buddha himself, all of them must take a journey and encounter sickness, aging, and death. Spiritual life meets a troubled world with the keen eye of compassion.
Co-presented by Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)
and Buddhist Film Foundation