‘Happiest Man Alive' arrives at UK film festival

The Devotion of Matthieu – an awe-inspiring documentary on the person Time magazine once dubbed the ‘world's happiest man' – will get its UK premiere tomorrow (Tuesday May 12th) at the International Buddhist Film Festival.

It is among 27 UK premieres and more than 40 films from around the world being presented at IBFF 2009 LONDON when it takes place at the Barbican and will introduce Londoners to a remarkably different way of looking at their lives.


The Devotion of Matthieu Ricard follows this French-born, Tibetan Buddhsit monk through a sample of his myriad activities: from translating Tibetan into French for the Dalai Lama; to a school in Nepal, to editing his photographs from a year of mountain retreat; and to a scientific research project measuring the effects of extensive meditation on the brain.
Matthieu Ricard is coming to London to speak of his experiences following the screening of the documentary. He will also take part in a Q&A with Babeth VanLoo, the director of the film – sure to be a real highlight of the festival.

As a highly trained and devout monk, Matthieu Ricard has devoted his life to humanitarian causes and channels a million dollars a year in royalties and donations to charitable organisations. Matthieu is a best-selling author, photographer, devoted student and neuroscience research subject and offered he was delighted to be attending the UK premiere of the film.
The film – directed by George Schouten and Babeth VanLoo – will explores themes such as compassion, joy and humanitarianism and is a truly astonishing look at global happiness. It also features incredible cinematography from around world.

This particular film weaves together Buddhist views, scientific research on mind training, western philosophy and the arts.

Matthieu Ricard said: “I'm delighted to be coming to the International Buddhist Film Festival. London is an ideal city to host a film festival that challenges its residents to explore the universal messages of Buddhism as well as experience the myriad ways these messages are presented in all genres of film.

“This particular film weaves together Buddhist views, scientific research on mind training, western philosophy and the arts. I'm hopeful it will inspire all who see it to view their everyday world from a different perspective and I'm happy to be able to attend and explore these issues personally with those attending the film.”

The film illustrates the importance of developing an inner calm, altruism and wisdom. Matthieu explains: “Authentic happiness as a way of being and as a skill has to be cultivated and which manifests itself when we have freed ourselves of mental blindness and afflictive emotions. It is also the wisdom that allows us to see the world as it is, without veils or distortions, and the joy of moving toward inner freedom and the loving-kindness that radiates toward others.”

By finding our own inner peace, we learn how to share it with others.

The film begins to teach the importance of cinemagoers an inner calm and Matthieu explains: “Putting some distance between ourselves and the world's activity gives us a new perspective on things, broader and more serene, and help us to better understand the dynamic of happiness and suffering. By finding our own inner peace, we learn how to share it with others.”

Born in Paris, Matthieu is the son of the late Jean-François Revel (born Jean-François Ricard), a renowned French philosopher, and grew up among the personalities and ideas of French intellectual circles. He worked for a Ph.D. degree in molecular genetics at the Institut Pasteur, but after completing his doctoral thesis in 1972, Ricard decided to forsake his scientific career and concentrate on the practice of Tibetan Buddhism.

He lived in the Himalayas studying with Kangyur Rinpoche and other great masters of the Nyingma tradition and became the close student and attendant of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche until his passing in 1991. Since then, Mr. Ricard has dedicated his life to fulfilling the vision of this eminent Tibetan lama.
Ricard's photographs of the spiritual masters, the landscape, and the people of the Himalayas have appeared in numerous books and magazines. Henri Cartier-Bresson has said of his work: “Matthieu's spiritual life and his camera are one, from which springs these images, fleeting and eternal.”


Equity members can book tickets at half price (£3.75) using the discount code 52009 when booking online at www.barbican.org.uk/buddhistfilm

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