Giant Buddhas

Direction
Year
2005
Country
  • Switzerland
Duration
95min
Audio Tracks
Subtitles

We are in Bamiyan, the great valley in Afghanistan, where in February of 2001, the Taliban issued an edict that all non-Islamic statues be destroyed. By March, the Buddhas (At 53 meters high, one of them was the tallest representation of Buddha in the world) had been blown to bits. International outrage ensued and the hypocrisy of this is one of the subjects of Frei's beautiful inquiry.

Frei retraces the footsteps of Xuanzang, the 7thcentury Chinese monk famed for his 16-year spiritual quest along the Silk Road to India. Bamiyan was one of his pit stops. Xuanzang's journals tantalize with evocative descriptions of the Bamiyan Buddhas and tease with mention of an even grander Buddha at a nearby monastery. Estimated to be 300 meters long, it would be the largest statue in human history, an 8th wonder.

Fascinated by the legend of the "sleeping Buddha," archaeologist Zémaryalaï Tarzi begins to excavate, even as he decries the plundering of Afghanistan's history. The film also captures a kitschy attempt to rebuild the Bamiyan Buddha as tourist attraction in China.

Meanwhile, in Canada, Afghan writer and journalist Nelofer Pazira responds to Frei's letters during his journey and reflects on an old photograph of her father posing before THE GIANT BUDDHAS, while Frei follows the plans for high-tech reconstructions using "photogrammetry" and "anastylosis."

An essay about terrorism and tolerance, ignorance and identity, fanaticsm and faith.

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Details

  • Original title
    Giant Buddhas
  • Direction
  • Duration
    95 min (91+ min.)
  • Year
    2005
  • Country
    • Switzerland
  • Colour
    • Colour
  • Production
      • Christian Frei Filmproductions GmbH
      • Switzerland
  • Festivals
    • 2nd Tel Aviv
    • SPIRITS Film Festival
    • Cinematheque Tel Aviv
    • Internationales
    • Berg und Abenteuer Filmfestival
    • Graz, Austria
    • PREIS DER JURY
    • Der Preis der Jury geht an "The Giant Buddhas" für die beispielhafte
    • Recherche und präzise Darstellung von Hintergrundinformationen zu einem Thema,
    • das durch die globalen Medien meist nur unvollständig transportiert wird.
    • PRIZE OF THE JURY
    • The Price of the Jury goes to "The Giant Buddhas" for the exemplary
    • research and precise documentation of background information on a topic which
    • most often has been dealt with in an incomplete way by the global media.
    • International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival
    • VERZIO
    • Budapest, Hungary
    • 9th Sichuan TV Festival
    • Gold Panda Awards
    • Chengdu, China
    • AWARD for Best Photography
    • Int. Festival of Films on Art
    • FIFA Montréal
    • Canada
    • AWARD for Best Reportage
    • Parallel Programs
    • DaKINO International Film Festival
    • Bucharest, Rumania
    • Film Competition Award Winners
    • Banff, Canada
    • Special Jury Mention
    • "There is no more important film at the festival this year," says jury member Les Guthman.
    • "The Giant Buddhas is a chilling meditation on the destruction of sacred art and culture by religious fundamentalists; a crime against humanity, of course, that is not limited to Afghanistan."
    • World Cinema - Documentaries
    • Two River Film Festival
    • Monmouth University USA
    • Special Presentation
    • Miami University Art Museum
    • Oxford, Ohio, USA
    • International Festival of Archaeological Film
    • Rassegna
    • Museo Civico di Rovereto, Italy
    • Settembre Musica Festival
    • Torino
    • Italy
    • "The Sacred"
    • AVOSTANIS
    • Regional Cultural Festival, Italy
    • Official Selection
    • Tahoe/Reno International Film Festival
    • A Force for Positive World Change
    • International Documentary and Short Film Festival
    • Dokufest Prizren
    • Kosovo
    • Winner Best Feature Documentary
    • ZIFF-Festival of the Dhow Countries
    • Zanzibar International Film Festival
    • Tanzania
    • International Film + Visual Arts Festival
    • Ecofilms Rodos
    • Greeke
    • International Film + Visual Arts Festival
    • Ecofilms Rodos
    • Greeke
    • International Film + Visual Arts Festival
    • Ecofilms Rodos
    • Greeke
    • International Film + Visual Arts Festival
    • Ecofilms Rodos
    • Greeke
    • Aloha!
    • Maui Film Festival
    • Wailea, Pazific
    • In Competition
    • Durban International Film Festival
    • South Africa
    • Festival St. Malo
    • Etonnants Voyageurs
    • "Orients rêvés, Orients réels"
    • June 3 - 5
    • Official Selection
    • Catalonia Environmental Film Festival
    • Barcelona, Spain
    • In Competition - Feature Documentary Film Festival
    • Planete Doc Review Warsaw
    • Warsaw, Poland
    • Public Television Screening Conference
    • Taipei, Taiwan
    • May 7 - 12
    • Internationales Dokumentarfilmfestival
    • DOK.FEST München
    • Munich, Germany
    • In Competition
    • Trento Film Festival
    • Trento, Italy
    • April 29 - Mai 7
    • WINNER SILVER GENTIAN TRENTO
    • It all starts with a shocking news report on the loss of a world heritage, the giant carved Buddhas of Afghanistan, and evolves into a major film work of art. Based on complex and thorough research, it combines an international event with the very personal stories of people connected to it. It makes us consider the loss of cultural history and questions the role of media.
    • Official Selection
    • San Francisco International Film Festival
    • San Francisco, USA
    • Documentary Feature Section
    • Nashville Film Festival
    • Nashville USA
    • In Competition
    • Independent Film Festival Boston
    • Official Selection
    • Singapore International Film Festival
    • "Golden Tulip" International Competition
    • Istanbul Film Festival
    • Istanbul, Turkey
    • International Competition
    • DOCAVIV - tel-aviv international documentary film festival
    • Tel Aviv, Israel
    • European Independent Film Festival
    • Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris
    • In Competition - International Showcase
    • Florida Film Festival
    • Orlando USA
    • International Competition
    • It's all true - International Documentary Film Festival
    • São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
    • World Cinema Section
    • Bermuda International Film Festival
    • March 17 - 25
    • Official Selection - Christian Frei Retrospective
    • Environmental Film Festival Washington D.C.
    • Washington D.C., USA
    • Official Selection - Images of the 21st Century
    • Thessaloniki Documentary Festival
    • Thessaloniki, Greece
    • Main Competition
    • One World International Film Festival
    • Prague, Czech Republic
    • Official Selection
    • Bangkok International Film Festival
    • Bangkok, Thailand
    • Documentary Views
    • Portland International Film Festival
    • Portland, Oregon USA
    • Official Selection - Reihe SPEKTRUM
    • Filmfestival Max Ophüls Preis
    • Saarbrücken, Germany
    • U.S. Premiere - World Cinema Competition: Documentary
    • Sundance Film Festival
    • Park City, Utah, USA
    • Official Selection
    • Solothurn Film Festival
    • Solothurner Filmtage
    • Nomination
    • Best Documentary Film
    • In Competition
    • cph:dox Copenhagen
    • Copenhagen International Documentary Filmfestival
    • "The Giant Buddhas" ist ein einzigartiges filmisches Essay,
    • ein gewaltiger, herausragender Film in jeder Beziehung.
    • In Competition
    • Valladolid (Spain)
    • "Time of History"
    • Österreich Premiere - Official Selection
    • Viennale - Vienna International Film Festival
    • Official Selection
    • International Competition
    • Dokfestival Leipzig
    • Opening Film
    • WINNER "SILVER DOVE" LEIPZIG
    • "The filmmaker has taken a recent hot, politically sensitive and highly
    • symbolic news event and given us a thoughtful, well researched and
    • beautifully filmed analysis of the complexities of the issue and cultural
    • perspectives that stand behind the surface of the TV news."
    • Official Selection
    • Vancouver International Film Festival
    • International Premiere - Official Selection
    • Toronto International Film Festival
    • "Real to Reel"
    • World Premiere - Official Selection
    • Locarno International Film Festival
    • "Filmmakers of the Present"
    • May 14 - 17 2008
    • November 7 - 10 2007
    • November 6 - 10 2007
    • October 27 2007
    • March 8-18 2007
    • November 20 - 25 2006
    • Banff Mountain Film Festival 2006
    • October 28 - November 5 2006
    • November 4 - 6 2006
    • October 19 2006
    • October 4 - 7 2006
    • September 2006
    • August 2006
    • August 23 - 28 2006
    • WINNER "Best of the Fest - Documentary" 2006
    • August 9 - 13 2006
    • July 14 - 23 2006
    • June 20 - 25 2006
    • June 20 - 25 2006
    • June 20 - 25 2006
    • June 20 - 25 2006
    • June 18 - 18 2006
    • June 14 - 25 2006
    • June 1st - 10 2006
    • May 12 - 21 2006
    • INPUT 2006
    • May 3 - 11 2006
    • April 20 - May 4 2006
    • April 20 - 26 2006
    • April 19 - 24 2006
    • April 13 - 29 2006
    • April 1 - 16 2006
    • March 30 - April 8 2006
    • ECU 2006
    • March 25 - 26 2006
    • March 24 - April 2 2006
    • March 23 - April 2 2006
    • March 16 - 26 2006
    • March 10 - 19 2006
    • March 2 - 9 2006
    • February 17 - 28 2006
    • February 10 - 25 2006
    • January 23 - 29 2006
    • January 19 - 29 2006
    • January 16 - 22 2006
    • Swiss Film Prize 2006
    • January 18 2006
    • November 04 - 13 2005
    • WINNER art-tv "KULTURPERLE" FIVE BEST SWISS FILMS 2005
    • October 21 - 29 2005
    • October 14 - 26 2005
    • October 3 - 9 2005
    • September 29 - October 14 2005
    • September 8 - 17 2005
    • August 3 - 13 2005

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