Dark Red Forest

China, 2021
86 minutes, Color

Official website

Each year, during the hundred coldest days of winter, some 10,000 nuns at the remote Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Yarchen Gar partake in a sacred retreat, each chanting alone in her tiny cloth-covered hut, meeting only for communal activities of daily life. As the title implies, and the film's visuals confirm, the red-robed nuns are like a force of nature, as if trees in a forest were attempting to attain transcendence. Of course the nuns are human, as check-ins with their probing, funny, yet unyielding lama reveal. Some are too shy to speak; others don't have it in them to study. Their worst fear is not of their teacher, not of the Chinese government that will likely close down the monastery, but of their personal impediments to enlightenment. We shouldn't describe this film in too much detail because, as one learns, uncertainty is the road to compassion.—Judy Bloch

In Tibetan with English subtitles

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