Into the Shaolin is an immersive journey inside China’s legendary Shaolin Temple. Situated deep in the Songshan mountain range, the iconic temple is considered to be the birthplace of Shaolin Kungfu. Today the Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site but it is more widely known for its martial arts tradition and Shaolin culture which has traveled the world in the famous Kung Fu movies and the touring performances made by the monks.

Against the backdrop of temple life, an old tradition manifests as monks and novices pursue their daily routine of meditation and Kungfu practice and chores. Dedicated disciples whose spiritual and physical discipline is embedded within the ancient martial art shaping not only their body but their mind and spirit.

For the very young their mastery of the martial art is remarkable yet it is attained through a grueling and painful education. Many come to the monastery as children seeking to escape poverty. Others come looking for peace or to fulfill a dream of a Kung Fu warrior.  One is a woman doing research for her doctoral thesis on the concept of Chan. The arduous and lengthy training leaves the monks little chances of making a living outside the Temple. For those who do leave, most have no other option than to earn their living from their martial arts training.

Into the Shaolin takes us into an exceptional world that appears unchanged for centuries. By Sun Hongyun, China 2023 91'   Festivals NYCDOC DOC EDGE