Wheel of Time
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Celebrated filmmaker Werner Herzog turns his attention to one of the largest Buddhist gatherings in the world in this documentary. Each year, thousands of Buddhist pilgrims travel to the village of Bhod Gaya in India (the place where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment) to take part in the Kalachakra Initiation. As the visitors stream into Bhod Gaya, many traveling on foot and often stopping to prostrate themselves as a sign of devotion, a team of monks create a beautiful and intricate sand painting on Mount Kallash, which is scattered to the winds by the Dalai Lama at the end of… More
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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 94%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"What could end up feeling like a by-the-numbers Discovery Channel docu is enlivened considerably by wry asides from the helmer."
‑ Leslie Felperin, Variety
"The assembly and eventual destruction of the Kalachakra sand mandala is the cycle around which the German director Werner Herzog's absorbing documentary is structured."
‑ Stephen Holden, New York Times
"Wheel of Time is flawed because Herzog attempts to illustrate faith through the exercise of faithfulness. He runs after the poetry of Buddhism and it eludes him."
‑ Maria Garcia, Film Journal International
"Wheel of Time lacks the intensity of many of Herzog's works, and the meditative nature of the monks is a strange match for the wildness of Herzog."
‑ Christopher Null, Filmcritic.com
"As always, Herzog comes up with some unique and often ridiculous human behavior in the midst of all this peace and tolerance."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"The director made his name in the '70s with a series of intense fictional films, but he's also proven a fascinating documentarian."
‑ Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle
"Taking a low-key approach, Herzog captures the pilgrims' intense fervor. The sight of 500,000 people united in prayer is mind-blowing."
‑ V.A. Musetto, New York Post
"Herzog clearly communicates an outsider-looking-in status in Wheel of Time."
‑ Jeffrey Chen, Window to the Movies
"A respectful depiction of religious zealotry"
‑ Nick Schager, Lessons of Darkness
"Riveting and unique."
‑ David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor
"[Herzog] knows instinctively when to linger and when it's time to turn away."
‑ Jan Stuart, Newsday
"Patient and fascinated, but never succumbing to abstraction."
‑ Ed Park, Village Voice
"Becalmed yet electrifying."
‑ Rob Gonsalves, eFilmCritic.com
"Awe-inspiring for those of all faiths who sincerely hope that this world can be a peaceful one."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"Extraordinary documentary on two Buddhist rituals that bring out thousands to meditate and to express their devotion."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
More reviews for Wheel of Time on Rotten Tomatoes