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Mandala

Xi Guan
United States, 2015, 23 min.

In English/Mandarin/Tibetan with English subtitles.
This film is family friendly.

Helena is a talented painter in New York City, struggling to come to terms with the loss of her lover Paul. Stuck and drowning in these memories and fragmented images of her past, she suddenly meets a mysterious Tibetan monk who shows an interest in her work. His temple will even buy all of her unsold paintings if she partakes in a special "commission" in Tibet. Lured by the money, Helena goes to Tibet. On her journey through the epic and haunting landscapes of Tibet, Helena meets a mysterious woman who is convinced that Helena is the living reincarnation of her father, the monk Rinpoche who had passed 23 years earlier. The temple and the monks are also adamant and urge Helena to partake in a traditional ceremony to prove it. In order to take on this new life though, Helena must forget her past and that means letting go of her memories of Paul. In order to finally find peace, she must accept her new fate.

Director's Statement

Puzzling as life is I'm always on the road. That one look, through endless reincarnations, stays still, exquisite. I felt the gentle caress of my soul in Tibet, the first time I was there, at the age of 18. But the astonishing plateau landscape and the Tibetan Buddhist practices were strangely familiar. I felt connected like it was my homeland. Every year afterwards, I was there, visiting home. Mandala is a story about loss, death, pain, and rebirth. The female protagonist is on the road, seeking relief from her pain. She is an artist living in the concrete jungle of the modern city, yet her life is clashed with the long-kept traditions of reincarnation of one Tibetan Rinpoche (male) from the distant past. The elements of the story are drawn from my experience growing up. It is a personal film consisted of my understanding towards life and reincarnation, my confusion, and my desire. The film deals with the philosophical view of reincarnation and the construction of female identity.

Category: Drama.
Themes: Culture, Religion, World Cinema.

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