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Zen For Nothing
The Sedona International Film Festival is proud to present a special premiere of “Zen For Nothing” on Thursday, Aug. 22. There will be two shows at 4 and 7 p.m. at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.
Provocatively titled, “Zen For Nothing” is a masterful immersion into life at a Japanese Zen monastery over three seasons. Hidden between the tree-lined mountains of the Western coast of Japan, the small Antaiji Zen monastery, run by a German monk from Berlin who is peculiar to say the least, seems to have become a sanctuary for wanderers in search of spirituality. One of these is actress Sabine Timoteo who leaves her job and family behind in Switzerland to immerse herself in monastic life through the autumn, winter and spring.
Sabine arrives at Antaiji and, after a brief welcome, she begins to learn the monastery rules: how to bow, sit in the meditation hall, carry out movements with chopsticks, etc. There’s more to life there than meditation, farming, and maintenance, however: there are picnics, music, and Wi-Fi. And after the last snow has melted away, the nuns and monks travel to Osaka, where they recite sutras in front of subway entrances as they solicit offerings in their traditional monk’s robes.
In his new documentary, Swiss director Werner Penzel follows this young woman as she encounters the philosophy of the Japanese Zen master Kōdō Sawaki and the surprises brought forth by everyday monastic life. Quietly compelling, “Zen For Nothing” is filled with moments of pristine beauty and meditative calm, as well as humor and humanity.
“Zen For Nothing” will show at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre on Thursday, Aug. 22 at 4 and 7 p.m. Tickets are $12, or $9 for Film Festival members. For tickets and more information, please call 928-282-1177. Both the theatre and film festival office are located at 2030 W. Hwy. 89A, in West Sedona.