Franz Osten: "Life of the Buddha"

birgit kellner birgit.kellner at UNIVIE.AC.AT
Sun Aug 6 17:51:44 UTC 2000

Juergen Neuss wrote:

> Dear list members,
> a friend of mine told me about a documentary film, titled "Das Leben des
> Buddha" ("Life of the Buddha") which was directed by Franz Osten in
> 1928. According to his informations there is only one copy of the film
> which has survived in some archive in Poona. Does anyone of you know
> more about the film, its whereabouts and how a copy of it could be
> procured?
> Thanks
> jn

You must be referring to the film "Die Leuchte Asiens"/"The Light of Asia"/"Prem
Sanyas", directed by Franz Osten (whose real name was Ostermayr), in cooperation
with the Indian actor Himansu Rai, for the German film company Emelka in Munich.
The film was released in 1925; its first screening took place on October 22nd
1925 in Munich; it was then shown in Berlin on November 2nd at the occasion of
the opening of the cinema "Picadilly". Osten thereafter directed the films
"Shiraz" (1928), "A Throw of Dice" and "Achhut Kanya" (dates unknown to me). In
1935, he founded the company "Bombay Talkies" and made another 16 purely Indian
film productions. He later worked for Bavaria Film in Munich and finally ended
up as a "Kurdirektor" (sorry, I don't know the English word for this profession
:-)) in Bad Aibling.

I am not not exactly sure where a copy of "The Light of Asia" could be located
today, but it was shown at a small festival in Wiesbaden in February 1999 called
"Buddhismus im Film". The festival was organized by Barbara Kökenhoff
(Nerostr.34, 65183 Wiesbaden).

I also have an entry for a book on Franz Osten, which however I haven't seen
Gerhard Koch, "Franz Osten's Indian Silent Films" (New Delhi 1983).

Best regards,

Birgit Kellner
Institute for Tibetan and Buddhist Studies
Vienna University

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