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Kalama Sutta: Seeing is Believing

Kalama Sutta: Seeing is Believing


Kalama Sutta: Seeing is Believing, by Josef Silverstein, Professor Emeritus Rutgers University

This is a film about Burma from many perspectives and includes many films both lying atop one another and intersecting with each other. Burma and the unchanging land; the many different peoples, both interacting and intersecting, all different and the same. The cultures of the peasants, the village, the military and the new city life. Binding it together are the faces and voices, each telling a different part of the story, all seemingly unconnected but in fact each adding a different part.

This is the story of a national tragedy–of the peoples who never really learned to live together who share the land and parts of the national culture that can smile even as they suffer brutality, cruelty and military rule and are not free to work out their way.

To me this film is a kaleidoscope–constantly changing and each fragment revealing a tiny bit of the story which only becomes whole as the pieces move around their own axes and blend for a moment to become the whole. To me, it says the war and suffering are only a small part of a long and unfinished story of people who will survive and retain their unique identities despite the foreign cultures which bombard their senses but do not change. Fisher’s camera and sound have caught all of it for just a moment and stopped it for eternity so others can see and share the experience. As I viewed it again, I saw so much that was new; I am sure that when I view it again, I will see and learn more.


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