Posts Tagged ‘videos’

A short video of a tram journey through the noisey streets of Kolkata.  Tram routes are being cut back as private cars take up more and more room on the already crowded streets of this great city.  Enjoy the ride while you can!


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I was fortunate this year to be in Chiang Mai, in northern Thailand, for the annual celebration of Loy Krathong, on the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar. This is usually in November. “Loi” is “to float” and “krathong” is a little raft traditionally made from a section of the trunk of a banana tree. (These days they are often made of styrofoam.) The krathong are decorated with flowers, candles, incense sticks and sometimes money. People then release them to float away on a river.  See the short video of a sky lantern going up, up and away. (more…)

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In the 1940’s American-born Willard (Kitchener) MacDonald jumped his troop train heading to WWII. Fearing authorities he lived as a Hermit deep in the northern wilderness of Nova Scotia, Canada, for more than 60 years. This is the true story of The Hermit of Gully Lake, a man who lived a life that the rest of us could never endure. He was a soul in exile and yet you will discover that he touched the lives of so many, in ways that no one can really explain — Willard became a Legend.

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Another short documentary about this remarkable man.

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The Hermit of Manana, a film by Elizabeth Harris. Released May 2006.

“The Hermit Of Manana” is the true story of Ray Eugene Phillips (1892 – 1975). He was born in 1892, attended the University of Maine, fought in World War I, held down a job in New York City in the bustling 1920s, and then, seemingly on a whim, happily decided to leave it all behind for a life of solitude on the tiny, isolated island of Manana, Maine. He spent the rest of his life there, with a herd of sheep and a gander, a small wooden rowboat, in a shack made out of materials that washed up onto the shore.

His story became one that traveled quickly and altered radically. Myths, legends, and folklore surrounded the story of Ray, then and now, and he became known up and down the east coast, as “The Hermit of Manana.” Newspapers sought him out, photographers hounded him, a children’s author wrote a story about him, and rumors spread wildly. “The Hermit of Manana,” the documentary, seeks to sift through the stories and reach towards Ray as a person and what made him gladly choose this lifestyle.

Today Manana Island stands uninhabited. Ray Phillips was the longest resident of the island, from 1930-1975. For a time, the coast guard had a manned station there, but that was eventually automated. One family lived there for a couple of years but moved on. The grass has grown up high and Ray’s paths are long gone, but you can not look out on Manana without thinking of him.

From the director: For me, the choice between city and country life is one very close to home. The seductions of the city have drawn me in but I feel strongly that I deny myself something by living away from the country. Career ambitions often demand city life, while personal happiness takes a back seat when country people are trapped in the city. My film addresses this conflict in everybody, and focuses on one man who faced this conflict and chose unlike anyone else. This project is meant to stir a discussion about our priorities, and the value in simplicity, existence and basic survival.

Ray’s decision to fend for himself and avoid social interaction attracted attention, making headlines of newspapers and magazines all over the northeast. Withdrawing from the norm made him stand out much more than if he had remained one of millions in New York City. What elements in his upbringing and psyche allowed him to happily opt out of society? What can we learn from his decision and how could it impact our lives? My personal journey to uncover more about Ray Phillips leads me to numerous characters who knew Ray, and to question my own lifestyle along the way.

A DVD of the film is available at: TheHermitOfManana@gmail.com.

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A chance meeting with a Roman Catholic nun on the underground railway in Naples when I was 15 years old introduced me to Thomas Merton. She urged me to read “The Seven Storey Mountain” (the long version of his autobiography) which I did. Even at that age I was enormously drawn to the monastic life and enjoyed the book because his experience showed me what was possible. Since then, his books and books about him have been steady reading over the last 40 years. What he wrote about his hermitage and his own journey into solitude were of particular interest to me because I felt a similar attraction.

This video on YouTube takes us inside Merton’s hermitage. What surprises me is how large it was and how well furnished. I wasn’t expecting a “hermitage” to have four rooms and a dozen pots and pans for cooking. Of courses, this is just my expectation – I’d thought it would be much smaller and more like a simple cabin with a toilet. Anyway, see for yourself.

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I have not yet seen this film but it looks fascinating.  This text is taken from the film’s website www.festivalmedia.org

“Amongst White Clouds is an intimate insider’s look at students and masters living in scattered retreats dotting China’s Zhongnan Mountain range. These peaks have reputedly been home to recluses since the time of the Yellow Emperor, some five thousand years ago. It was widely thought that the tradition was all but wiped out, but this film emphatically and beautifully shows us otherwise.

Inspired in part by the noted book by Bill Porter (Red Pine), Road To Heaven: Encounters With Chinese Hermits, and filmed on location in China by American director Edward A. Burger, the film takes an unforgettable journey into the hidden tradition of China’s Buddhist hermit monks.

One of only a few foreigners to have lived and studied with these elusive practitioners, Burger is able, with humor and compassion, to present their tradition, their wisdom, and the hardship and joy of their everyday lives among the clouds.”

Directed by Edward A. Burger
Produced by Chad Pankewitz

FM1006–86 minutes / Color / English, Chinese (English subtitles) / Stereo / NTSC / All Region
SRP $24.95

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