Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Of all the things I thought might happen once I moved in with Genla, joining Netflix was not one of them. But that's the thing about saints--they're never up to the things you think they ought to be up to. It's one way they keep you on your toes.

It was about a month into living here that I noticed Genla reading an old pulp novel called Lost Horizon.

The book tells the story of an American named Conway (and a few travel companions) who gets hijacked and winds up in "Shangri-la," a mythic city in a remote mountain range where perfect peace reigns, there is no illness and everyone ages slowly, happily and joyously, living to be hundreds of years old. Conway - on account of his incredible virtue - is chosen to succeed Shangri-La's current spiritual and temporal leader, now wizened. And he even meets this intriguing love interest in the process. But for flimsily-explained reason he becomes dissatisfied, and tries to escape to the West, getting quite far before realizing his foolishness, and then spending the rest of his life trying to get back to Shangri-La. Does he make it--or not? Hwaaaannnnnnnng!!! (That's the "suspense" sound effect).

Gesturing at the yellowing little paperback, Genla said, "They made movie. I want to see this movie. Can you find?"

So it was that I joined Netflix with their smallest membership, two rentals a month at one low price. So we started watching movies, very occasionally, often just a half-hour at a time, during dinner.

When I joined, I had put lots of Tibetan films in the "queue," which is the automated list of movies that Netflix sends you in the order you specify each time you send a movie back to them. After Shangri-La, I thought, we'll watch Wheel of Time--Werner Herzog's documentary on the Tibetan Buddhist tradition of Kalachakra intiation--followed by some choice bio-flicks on His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, maybe that three-part lecture series by Robert Thurman. I was really excited to continue my education via the magic of cinema!

Lost Horizon the film, directed by Frank Capra (Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, It's a Wonderful Life), was excellent. I can honestly recommend it to anyone. As the closing credits rolled, Genla turned to me. "You like it?"

I confessed I did.

"Next I want to see," he paused, a bit grandly, and said, "The BAZAAR OF ARTS!!!"

"The Bazaar of Arts?" I repeated.

"The BI-ZAR OF ARTS!" Genla enunciated.

"The Bizarre of Arts?" I tried to repeat in vain.


He couldn't possibly be asking to see . . . "The Wizard of Oz?" I asked, eyebrows arching.

"Yes. I want to see--how do you say?"

"The Wizard of Oz."

TO BE CONTINUED. Hwannnnng!!!

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At 8:59 AM, Blogger tnzn said...



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