My Reincarnation, a film about the burden of being told that you’re a reincarnated lama, opens October 28 in New York and Los Angeles, before moving nationwide.
My Reincarnation is said to be “an epic, intimate father-son drama wrapped in a spiritual documentary — spanning 20 years and three generations.” It follows renowned reincarnate Tibetan lama Chögyal Namkhai Norbu as he struggles to save his spiritual tradition, and his Italian-born son, Yeshi, who strains against the weight of being recognized as the reincarnation of his father’s uncle.
The film of the latest work by Jennifer Fox, producer of An American Love Story, Learning to Swim, and Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman.
For twenty years, Fox followed Norbu and Yeshi with her camera. The result tells the rare inside story of one of the last reincarnated teachers to be trained in Tibet and his son’s stubborn reluctance to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Norbu Rinpoche escaped Tibet in 1959 and settled in Italy, where he married an Italian woman and had two children, of which Yeshi was the first. As a boy, Yeshi was recognized as the reincarnation of a famous spiritual master who died after the Chinese invaded Tibet. But growing up in Italy, Yeshi never wanted to have anything to do with this legacy, not being convinced by the “proofs” and feeling that people knew about him but didn’t know him.
The film follows Yeshi though his spiritual explorations, and one reviewer commented that “Open-minded viewers are likely to be enthralled by interpretations of human existence and systems of belief that never play like a recruitment drive.”
“The film touches on so many topics that people don’t talk about openly in their lives,” Fox explains. “I wanted to use the film’s theatrical launch as an opportunity to create a safe space for people to share their spiritual stories and their stories of transformation, whether it be about a parent or a child, or in relation to a religious experience. I am so excited to see this web dialogue develop and grow. We’ve already had great support from wonderful people such as Robert Thurman and his son, Ganden, who have agreed to be interviewed about their spiritual stories for the site to prompt others to share.”
Earlier this year, My Reincarnation made news by breaking records as hundreds of patrons made it the number one fund-raising film of any completed film on Kickstarter, the popular crowd-funding platform.
My Reincarnation won a Top 20 Audience Award at the International Film Festival of Amsterdam, screened at the Sydney Film Festival, and will soon premiere at the Hamptons Film Festival.
Variety Review praises “the intimate feel of the project,” and Hollywood Report Card says, “The amount of access into the lives of these two men over two decades gives the film an amazing depth.”
The film will open October 28 in New York (Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street), and Los Angeles (Laemmle Monica, 1332 2nd Street, Santa Monica).