Louis Nero’s “Milarepa” film to reimagine Tibetan Buddhist figures in sci-fi future

The forthcoming film will offer a sci-fi twist on the lives of the eleventh-century Tibetan Buddhist figures Jetsun Milarepa and Marpa Lotsawa.

Rod Meade Sperry
10 April 2024
The “Milarepa” film poster.

From Variety comes news that a new film inspired by the lives of the sainted eleventh-century Tibetan Buddhist figures Jetsun Milarepa and Marpa Lotsawa will be coming soon (though no official date seems to have been announced yet). Titled Milarepa and written and directed by Italian filmmaker Louis Nero, the film is sure to inspire interest as well as debate through its unconventional casting.

Shot largely in Sardinia, the film — which is not to be confused with the 2006 film of the same name by Neten Chokling— is set in a “no tech” sci-fi near future and does not feature Tibetans. Rather, Milarepa/Mila here is played here as a young girl by Les Miserables actor Isabelle Allen, and her guru, Marpa is played by Harvey Keitel. Also included in the cast are F. Murray Abraham and Angela Molina. (You can see an image of Keitel as Marpa in Variety’s story, here.) 

A trailer of the film, and other details, are still to be released, but we’ll share them here when available.

In the meantime, why not familiarize (or re-familiarize) yourself with Milarepa’s story and teachings with “Who Was Milarepa?”, a Lion’s Roar article detailing what’s known about the man known as the “Lord of Yogis” and a true inspiration for the Tibetan people?

Marpa and his guru Milarepa’s are both considered forefathers (along with Gampopa) of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, and so are part of the lineage of the Six Dharmas of Naropa, the “fast track to awakening” explored in detail in Buddhadharma’s Six Dharma of Naropa issue, out now. You can read Pema Khandro’s overview of the Six Dharmas from that issue here

Rod Meade Sperry. Photo by Megumi Yoshida, 2024

Rod Meade Sperry

Rod Meade Sperry is the editor of Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Guide (published by Lion’s Roar), and the book A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation: Practical Advice and Inspiration from Contemporary Buddhist Teachers. He lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, with his partner and their tiny pup, Sid.