this body is so impermanent…

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this body is so impermanent…

Peter Sellars (USA)

Date and time

10/10 • 9:00 PM to 22h18

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Duration 78 min.

Recommended age: All ages

What can we learn from a virus? Acknowledge that Covid-19 is not just an affliction but also a messenger? Vimalakirti Sutra, a Buddhist text of the first century of the Common Era, sees illness as a path to spiritual awakening. The central character is a merchant that talks to his peers on his deathbed. His teachings surprise for not fear death and face life with no illusions.

Intersections between art and medicine – on the trail of the changes of the paradigm that affects humankind since 2020 – boosted the singer Ganavya Doraiswamy, the improvisation dancer Michael Schumacher, the calligrapher Wang Dongling, and the staging director Peter Sellars to create simultaneous meditation of just over an hour that explores two pages of this visionary and iconic writing.

The collaboration on cyberspace among China, the United States, and Europe, therefore different time zones, intertwined three forms of art as a real-time film.

The text distinguishes the body – that is impermanent and is doomed to be broken and destroyed – from the reality body, formed by our good actions, wisdom, generosity, love, patience, morality, transcendence, shared kindness, and courage. Therefore, this body is so impermanent… aspires to become a memorial for shared suffering and a message of beauty and hope.

Sellars built an encompassing career with tragedies, dramas, and oratories in opera and theater, in addition to movie direction.


A production of The Boethius Initiative (UCLA) and Fisher Center (Bard)

Director: Peter Sellars

Executive Producers: Diane J. Malecki, Gideon Lester and Peter Sellars

Producers: Caleb Hammons, Cathy Teixeira, Cheng-Sim Lim, Jason Silverman, Julia Carnahan and Susan Pertel Jain

Cast: Ganavya Doraiswamy, Michael Schumacher and Wang Dongling

Phograph Director (Hangzhou): Yu Lik-wai

Second Unit Photography(Portland): Just Joondeph Hoffer

Sound Designer: Shahrokh Yadegari

Editor: Tim Squyres

Sutra Vimalakirti

English Translation: Robert Thurman

Chinese Translation: Kumārajīva

Portuguese Translation: Fernanda Mello


Burroughs Wellcome Fund; The Fisher Center Artistic Innovation Fund; The J. Paul Getty Trust; June and Simon Li; with the main support of the Film and Television Archive da UCLA; Asia Society/Center on U. S. – China Relations; Carol and Harvey Berman; Thendara Foundation; Rebecca Gold Barbara and Sven Huseby; e University of Kentucky International Center

Special thanks for: Wang Dongling I INKStudio

Connection in Brazil: (Ricardo Muniz Fernandes and Ricardo Frayha)

Subtitling: Rodrigo Gava

Date and time

10/10 • 9:00 PM to 22h18

Add to Google Calendar

Duration 78 min.

Recommended age: All ages


live programming | oct 2021