Vultures of Tibet Directed by Russell O. Bush Shows as part of Shorts Program 2, “Life and Death,” June 20 at 5:30 p.m. at AFI Silver and June 23 at 3:45 p.m. at Goethe-Institut

Vultures of Tibet, the best in the “Life and Death” shorts showcase, is a gorgeous study of the Tibetan sky burial, a tradition that calls for dead bodies to be left exposed to the elements. Vultures flock to pick flesh from bone, emphasizing a tenet of Buddhist faith—the body is temporary and the soul is forever. (The Chinese tourists who swarm to gawk at the tradition, meanwhile, deserve a fate no better than an insect’s in their next lives.) The appeal of the sky burial is its all-encompassing approach to life and death. Its functional purpose is paired with a calming faith in the inevitable: “We can’t choose where we are born or deny we will die.”

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