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35 Ratings

The Venerable W.

Le Vénérable W.

Directed by Barbet Schroeder
France, Switzerland, 2017


The third film in Barbet Schroeder’s Trilogy of Evil, following, Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait (1974) and El abogado del terror (2007).

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The Venerable W. Directed by Barbet Schroeder
Schroeder’s approach is calm, almost detached, in keeping with his other work (although the choice of de Medeiros to speak for Buddhism, and with a nonspecific Asian-seeming accent at that, struck me as an avoidable misstep); this makes the bleakness of what he recounts (which is buttressed by an insinuatingly menacing score by Jorge Arriagada) that much more resonant.
January 03, 2019
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This is an important documentary that not only illuminates the rank underbelly of Theravada Buddhism in Myanmar, but also captures one of the first major tests faced by the new political order, especially regarding freedom of speech and assembly… A problem with The Venerable W. is how Schroeder assumes evil to be a given in the world. He is the filmmaker’s Kołakowski, someone who believes evil isn’t rooted in social circumstance, but is a permanent feature of the human condition.
August 31, 2017
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Far more lucid than the middle film in Schroeder’s trilogy, Terror’s Advocate (2007), and it builds to a genuinely horrifying endpoint.
July 11, 2017
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