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Angulimala

Thailand 2003
directed by Sutape Tunnirut
starring Nopochai Jayanama, Stella Malucchi, John Rattanaveroj, Kamron Gunatilaka, Alisa Kajornchaiyakul

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Upon his birth, it is foreseen that Ahimsaka (Nopachai Jayanama) will become a violent bandit, so he is brought to a Brahmin temple to study to attain the Dharmic core, but since hi teacher also foresees his violent future, he is only assigned to the lowest of tasks, that of a sheepherder. But even there he witnesses violence, be it a bandit threatening him with his sword, be it his sheep being slaughtered at the market, or soldiers preparing to kill an untouchable. When his teacher expells his young wife Nandha (Stella Malucchi) though, & she wants to take her own life, he saves her, only for the 2 to be threatened by the teacher's soldiers & barely escaping with their lives. 

But then Ahimsaka has a divine apparition that tells him, to attain the Dharmic core, he must slaughter 1000 bandits, which Ahimsaka has no hesitation of doing, keeping count by cutting the thumbs off their corpses & wearing them as a necklace, hence being called Angulimala (necklace of fingers). Angulimala's interpretation of who is a killer soon becomes more & more deliberate though, as he soon starts killing anyone of the wrong faith, too., & later, after he killed one of his former fellow students who griefed over the death of his wife, anyone who has pain in his heart, not even stopping at killing his own teacher. When Nandha, who stayed with him through all the time, finds out that he is not a mere banditkiller but a mass murderer, tries to poison herself & him, since they both have pain in their heart, but Angulimala can save himself just in time & is now more determined than ever to make his killings a full 1000 to attain the Dharmic core & bring her back to life. 

Only 1 kill away from that number & already aiming his arrow at his final victim (who, unbeknowest to him, is his mother), he has another divine appartion though, in form of a bhikkhu monk, who finally makes him realize th error of his ways, & when doing so, he gives up his goal of attaining the Dharmic core by killing but becomes a bhikkhu monk himself, from now on answering the aggression brought against him with non-violence & compassion, at the end of his lifespan telling a young sheepherder not to follow the road who he is predestined to, since he himself went the path of violence only because in some way everybody made him to.

 

At times very stark & brutal adaptation of a Buddhist legend (though taking some liberties upon it), coming across as a mix of religious fantasy & all-out gore movie. Quite interesting as it is, though definitely no mastepiece.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD