The Rubin Ritual Films: A Singing Blade + Nangchen Shorts
On the eve of Losar, the Tibetan New Year, two renowned filmmakers, Tenzin Phuntstog and Bari Pearlman, present original shorts on the power of ritual in the daily life of Tibetans and Tibetan Americans.
A SINGING BLADE, a fictional short written and directed by Tenzin Phuntsog, takes its inspiration from Black Yamari, a thangka in the Rubin Museum’s collection.
Recalling her childhood memories, a young Tibetan woman living in New York, displaced, questions if all is lost. Realizing that beauty is fleeting, she attempts to find solace in poetry, ancient texts, and art.
Director, Cinematographer, Editor: Tenzin Phuntsog. Producer: Joy Dietrich. Starring actress & singer: Yeshe Gyaltag. Original Score by Brian Chase.
A Singing Blade is the Rubin Museum’s first film commission, which was made possible by the support of the Lucius and Eva Eastman Fund.
NANGCHEN SHORTS by Bari Pearlman is a series of three short films about life in remote, rural Tibet.
Ritual Objects explores three traditional Buddhist rituals via the implements that are used in them. A young nun shares the meaning and mechanics of the iconic Tibetan Prayer Wheel. The visit of a High Lama to their remote monastery prompts a group of nuns to prepare a customary welcoming Procession. And an old monk gently instructs one of the nuns on how to prepare the Torma for an intricate Tibetan Buddhist ceremony.
In Water, we watch a Tibetan woman as she collects water near her family's yak farm, in a ritual that takes her an hour to complete. In Tsampa we watch as a young nun quietly preparing tsampa in a traditional yak tent, and are treated to a brief lesson in how to make eating a mindful act.
Post-screening discussion with the filmmakers Tenzin Phuntsog & Bari Pearlman.
Tenzin Phuntsog is a filmmaker and artist. His work explores the fundamental and inherent aspects of cinema; time, space, and perspective. For the artist, these fundamentals are the most provactive and evocative characteristics of the medium. Thematic undercurrents run throughout; the esoteric and modern, beauty and brutality. He previously premiered FOUR RIVERS a cinematic landscape film at the Rubin Museum of Art in 2010. He has exhibited and screened his work at Video Brasil, Microscope Gallery, Galeria Vermelho, MOCA Geffen, LA Freewaves, Anthology Film Archives, and Festival Jean Rouche in Paris.
Filmmaker Bari Pearlman is an award-winning director whose documentary work has been shown at major film festivals and museums around the world, as well as in theaters and on television. Her work has been supported with grants from NYSCA, The Jerome Foundation, The Hartley Film Foundation, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and the Lucius and Eva Eastman Foundation, as well as residencies at LMCC Swing Space Artist's Residency on Governors Island, and Yaddo. Her films explore the idea of community, what makes people choose who and with what they identify, and how they navigate that choice. She is now developing her multi-form documentary Looking For Lepke about the notorious gangster who was her grandfather’s first cousin.