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Crows Are White



Plot summary

Uploaded by: FREEMAN


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720p.WEB 1080p.WEB
917.72 MB
Multiple languages 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 39 min
P/S 8 / 49
1.66 GB
Multiple languages 2.0
24 fps
1 hr 39 min
P/S 8 / 61

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by norrisslloyd10 / 10

Beautiful and poignant

This doc had me hooked immediately. The different stories all tie together so perfectly and poignantly. I laughed so hard, and cried a lot. No matter who you are, what you're going through, something in this documentary will speak to you. The way Ahsen discusses his past and religious trauma is absolutely perfect and heartbreaking. His journey for answers is captivating, and would make anyone want to seek answers of their own. The edit and music move this film forward in such a beautiful way. This is a must watch, and no doubt a contender for best doc of 2022.

Reviewed by ferguson-65 / 10

too much Nadeem

SXSW 2022 Greetings again from the darkness. The synopsis for this documentary had me excited to learn about the Tendai sect of monks on Mt Hiei in Japan. Known as "the Marathon Monks", the sect has been a part of the mountain for more than 1200 years and are known for their extreme tests of physical endurance on the path to enlightenment. Director Ahsen Nadeem set out to explore his own faith, and looked to these monks for guidance.

This is a film of contradictions. It's not really about the monks, and Nadeem's true objective seems to be tricking the monks into guiding him through his messy life ... a mess he created through his many deceptions. Nadeem seeks out time with Kamahori, a monk in the midst of a difficult 7-year journey to enlightenment. Kamahori has taken a vow of silence, which, as you can imagine, doesn't make for a much of a cinematic interview. Instead, the monks kick Nadeem off the mountain when his cell phone rings. It's at this point where we realize Nadeem is all about himself, and the tone of the film shifts.

Raised by strict Muslim parents, Nadeem recollects his childhood for us. It's this background that allows us to understand how severe his broken trust with his parents has become. See, Nadeem is engaged to a non-Muslim woman, but he keeps this fact (and her) a secret despite regular Facetime calls. It's a double-life that continues to get more complicated as the lies and deceptions pile up.

Still seeking answers, Nadeem heads back to the mountain where he meets Ryushin, a monk working the gift shop. We learn Ryushin is a black sheep monk ... one who loves sake, ice cream, and heavy metal music (Slayer and Slipknot). Their odd friendship is the most interesting part of the film, and perhaps the portion that most helps Nadeem. Some of the best monk sayings come out in this part, though mostly we (and Nadeem) learn that perception is truth, and that we often lie to ourselves regarding key elements in life. And then Nadeem is again kicked off the mountain.

After returning to Los Angeles for his wedding, Nadeem admits that he still hasn't told his parents. We find ourselves not liking Nadeem very much and certainly struggling to have any respect for a man who deceives his loved ones. In fact, his wife seems to take our side and is the one who pushes him to 'come clean' with the parents he hasn't seen for 10 years, 3 of which cover his secret marriage. The way this portion is handled is downright despicable and we feel for his parents and the pain they experience.

We can remain in awe of the monks and their extreme physical feats. Walking the circumference of the globe over 1000 days is fascinating, and Kaihogyo - no sleep or lying down for 90 days - is dangerous and incredible. It's very likely a second viewing of the film would allow for more focus on the spiritual aspects regarding faith and love and self. The contradictions in life - especially those we create for ourselves - are most certainly worth exploring, but our dislike of Nadeem (in spite of his honesty in front of the camera) is too distracting to pull out the wisdom and counseling that is present. Perhaps that is one more contradiction or paradox that we should deal with.

Reviewed by nsouthern-2568710 / 10

Unique, magnificent documentary.

This spellbinding documentary resists all classification and defies comparison. First-time director Ahsen Nadeem originally set out to helm a straightforward documentary portrait, a sociocultural examination of organized religion as filtered through the lens of extremist, mountain-dwelling Japanese Buddhist monks. But midway, he began to realize that the real motivation belying his quest had less to do with the taciturn monks than with his own complicated relationship with faith and culture... He faced an immense challenge, in reconciling his fundamentalist Muslim upbringing with his love for an American woman... and confessing their marriage to his traditionalist parents after several years in the dark. Undaunted, he turns to the Buddhists for answers.

Nadeem's journey toward self-enlightenment and actualization becomes the centerpiece of the film - a frequently hilarious but also thoughtful and provocative journey into the depths of one man's soul and his quest to tell the truth - not only to his mater and paterfamilias, but to himself and even to us, as the audience. There are marvelous surprises to be had along the way, especially the moving, tender friendship that blossoms onscreen between Nadeem and a young Japanese apprentice monk who works in a monastery gift shop... A friendship that will change each man's life in unforeseeable and indelible ways.

Nadeem has cited Ross McElwee (Sherman's March) as a key influence. But it's more distinct than anything McElwee has created - and actually reaches further... Distinguished by the the depth and profundity of its gaze and the loftiness of its thematic reach. It also benefits from spectacular location photography of the Japanese mountains and a taut narrative structure that keeps us guessing on the outcome of the director's quest - right up til the final sequence. Nadeem worked on this project for years, investing enormous amounts of time, thought, care and revelation into every frame... And it shows. This is a truly unique and special picture. Don't miss it.

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