Scholar and filmmaker Hamid Sardar follows Ani Rigsang, a nun determined to reach a sacred hidden convent where a handful of women still master the Secret Yogas of the immortal Body of Light. Inspired by one of the founding legends of Tibet, Rigsang traverses a landscape imagined as a demoness sleeping over the roof of the world—a symbol of the suffering of mankind and untamed energies trapped in the human body.
As Rigsang’s travels over the demoness turn disillusionment to hope, she shares her perspective on maintaining a “pure vision” (“a Buddhist nun must strive to see all living beings as her children”) and her understanding of our relationship to the earth (“a web of energy passes underneath the earth corresponding to the human body. . . .By prostrating, pilgrims and the earth become one”), and her ultimate goal of attaining the immortal “Rainbow Body.” Each screening is followed by a conversation with the filmmaker.
Hamid Sardar is a documentary filmmaker and photographer with a PhD from Harvard University in the field of Inner Asian languages and cultures. He began his career in filmmaking as a graduate student while exploring the Himalayas as an associate of the Harvard Film Study Center and as a National Geographic Society explorer. Inspired by the pioneers of exploration photography, Sardar devotes his cameras to telling the story of endangered cultures who maintain a spiritual dialogue with the natural world. Spanning more than a decade and countries around the world, Sardar-Afkhami has directed and produced several prize-winning feature documentaries, all of which have received their premiere at the Rubin Museum, notably Taiga, Tracking the White Reindeer, The Reindeer Herders, and Balapan, Wings over the Altai. His editorials have been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Geo, Le Figaro Magazine, and Paris Match.