Scene from the film Giant Buddhas
Scene from the film Giant Buddhas
Scene from the film Giant Buddhas
Scene from the film Giant Buddhas
Scene from the film Giant Buddhas
Share via
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Giant Buddhas

  • Switzerland
Audio Tracks 

We are in Bamiyan, the great valley in Afghanistan, where in February of 2001, the Taliban issued an edict that all non-Islamic statues be destroyed. By March, the Buddhas (At 53 meters high, one of them was the tallest representation of Buddha in the world) had been blown to bits. International outrage ensued and the hypocrisy of this is one of the subjects of Frei's beautiful inquiry.

Frei retraces the footsteps of Xuanzang, the 7thcentury Chinese monk famed for his 16-year spiritual quest along the Silk Road to India. Bamiyan was one of his pit stops. Xuanzang's journals tantalize with evocative descriptions of the Bamiyan Buddhas and tease with mention of an even grander Buddha at a nearby monastery. Estimated to be 300 meters long, it would be the largest statue in human history, an 8th wonder.

Fascinated by the legend of the "sleeping Buddha," archaeologist Zémaryalaï Tarzi begins to excavate, even as he decries the plundering of Afghanistan's history. The film also captures a kitschy attempt to rebuild the Bamiyan Buddha as tourist attraction in China.

Meanwhile, in Canada, Afghan writer and journalist Nelofer Pazira responds to Frei's letters during his journey and reflects on an old photograph of her father posing before THE GIANT BUDDHAS, while Frei follows the plans for high-tech reconstructions using "photogrammetry" and "anastylosis."

An essay about terrorism and tolerance, ignorance and identity, fanaticsm and faith.

French, German, Spanish and Italian subtitles are available for download only in DVD format.

This film is not currently online :(

Sorry, this film is not available in your country.


  • Original Title
    Giant Buddhas
  • Direction
  • Runtime
    95 min (91+ min.)
  • Year
  • Country
    • Switzerland
  • Format
    • Colour
  • Production
      • Christian Frei Filmproductions GmbH
      • Switzerland is powered by Doc Alliance, a creative partnership of 7 key European documentary film festivals. Our aim is to advance the documentary genre, support its diversity and promote quality creative documentary films.

Doc Alliance Members

Sign up to receive regular updates on our film program:

By signing up for the newsletter, I hereby consent to receiving commercial communications by electronic means and to all relevant personal data processing required for the purpose of sending the Doc-Air Distribution s.r.o. newsletter. I hereby confirm that I have read and familiarized myself with the Principles of Personal Data Processing and that I consent to the text therein. I also hereby acknowledge the rights specified herein, including, without limitation, the right to submit objections against direct marketing techniques.

Poslat svému Junioru