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‘Space to grow’: on being young, anxious and American in a Zen Buddhist family

Shohaku Okumura was born to a worldly merchant family in Osaka, Japan, but, to their chagrin, he chose a life as a Zen Buddhist monk and abbot in Bloomington, Indiana. Shohaku gives his own two children – a daughter, Yoko, and a son, Masaki – his quiet, steady support, affording them the ‘space to grow’ that he didn’t experience in his youth. But Masaki is indifferent to the Buddhist practices shared by his family, lacks direction and ambition, and prefers playing video games to engaging with the pressing question of what to do with his life. A simmering passion for cooking offers some hope, but Masaki and Yoko agree that they really wish their parents would just set some expectations for them. Shot over several years by Yoko Okumura, Sit is a touching, personal portrait of a family trying to find its way, and a probing exploration of the tension between the best intentions of parents and the needs of their children.

Director: Yoko Okumura

Producer: Christopher Ruiz

19 September 2016

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