At times light-hearted and other times serious, this heart-warming film provides a rare look inside the everyday lives of Japanese monks. With the sudden death of his grandfather, a 24-year old bookstore clerk, Koen Shirakata, becomes an Abbot of Eifukuji, the 57th of 88 temples on the Shikoku pilgrimage route. Although he was born and raised in this temple, stepping into the Buddhist world as a monk is a much deeper experience than Koen ever imagined.
Even as he worries about his new relationship with worshippers of the temple, Koen conducts weddings and funerals, and also acts as the “face” of the community. As he observes people’s lives and deaths, it is a natural part of the job to ponder the meaning of life and death.
An outstanding cast and staff from “Always - Sunset on Third Street” came together to make this film, which is an adaptation of a book about the real life experiences of an Abbot at Eifukuji Temple.
Comment from the Cinematsuri Selection committee
“I found this movie very endearing and funny. I think it also showed a lot of Japanese culture that American audiences could appreciate!”
“Through the everyday workings of a temple, the film shows that being a monk is more than prayer. Ultimately, life is not filled with major events and major accomplishments, but small gains and losses, and all we can do is work our way through them.”
“Overall, this quiet film of growth is a good glimpse into what Cinematsuri is trying to do – to show Japan in all its aspects.”