This epic doco, spanning 20 years and 17 countries, studies the relationship between Tibetan Buddhist master Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and his Italian-born son, Yeshi, who resists following his father’s footsteps.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2011
Director Jennifer Fox was working as the Rinpoche’s secretary when she first met his son in 1989. Eighteen-year-old Yeshi had conflicting feelings about a father whom he saw once a year for three or four days, but whom other people constantly sought out for guidance and counsel. ‘They see him as a solution’, he surmises, ‘but they forget that he is human.’ Himself recognised at birth as the reincarnation of Rinpoche’s uncle and master, the young man has a great responsibility resting upon his shoulders. His growth from truculent resistance to a measured accommodation of his heritage is watched over by a father fulfilling his own ancestral destiny. It’s a dramatic tale which rewards on many levels: as a study of exile; of Eastern spirituality in the contemporary West; as a classic father/son struggle; and not least as a contemplation of mortality, inheritance and spiritual continuance. — SR