Bunny Priest

Brad Warner, a muscian in a punk band called Zero Defex and a regular writer for soft-core porn site Suicide Girls, stars in Pirooz Kalayeh's documentary about Warner's journey into Zen Buddhism. Ordained as a priest by the late Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher Gudo Wafu Nishyima, Warner explains his teachings in the film while wearing a bunny suit. Although Brad Warner's Hardcore Zen seems like a wild one-eighty from Kalayeh's last effort — a meta-adaptation of Internet-age literary wunderkind Tao Lin's book Shoplifting from American Apparel — the same notion of enlightenment drives both films. Warner meditates every morning to maintain the truest version of himself, and on this day, the “truest” version of onscreen Warner explains Zen Buddhism with bunny ears on. Zen encourages direct insight through the self and with the guidance of an accomplished teacher. A punk-Buddhist priest, then, might just mess with a person's idea of Zen. The film's trailer feels mostly like a running gag in which Warner's friends, students, and fellow teachers insist on how normal he is — but the film also raises discussions about the curious divide between students' expectations of teachers and the actual experience of Buddhist circles. The film will be screened with an additional short-essay film by Kalayeh entitled “Brunch on the Fourth of July,” in which Kalayeh and a gang including more familiar alt-lit faces obsess about the possibilities of Tom Cruise swinging by their barbecue, Kalayeh's sanity, and cinema itself.

Sun., April 20, 7:30 p.m., 2014

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