The Dhamma Brothers

Returning from May, this slow-moving documentary puts a group of maximum-security prison inmates through the rigors of a 10-day Buddhism boot camp. (Most of these hard-boiled but thoughtful Alabama prisoners are serving life for murder.) The movie is at its best when the inmates are simply set in front of the camera and allowed to talk about their crimes and hopes for sorting out their lives, even from behind bars; they’re far more eloquent than the superintendents and counselors who keep watch over them. But the film suffers from a flabby, rambling narrative structure, which introduces too many bit players without giving enough background; and first-time filmmaker Jenny Phillips adds cheesy, half-assed re-enactments of the inmates’ crimes. There’s no doubt that the brothers are a compelling bunch, but their story isn’t well served here. Note: The film also screens at 3 and 5 p.m. on Sat. and Sun. (NR) JULIA WALLACE

June 13-19, 7 & 9 p.m., 2008

 
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