Synopsis & Film Details
Writer-director Khyentse Norbu, who scored an international hit with the 1999 drama THE CUP (PHORPA), about Tibetan refugees obsessed with watching the World Cup soccer finals, returns to his homeland to make the remarkably charming and engaging TRAVELLERS & MAGICIANS, the first feature-length film to be made completely within the Kingdom of Bhutan. Norbu, who worked with Bernardo Bertolucci on 1997′s LITTLE BUDDHA, is believed to be His Eminence Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, an incarnate lama, and he infuses TRAVELLERS & MAGICIANS with a thoughtful and contemplative Buddhist mind-set. Tshewang Dendup stars as Dondup, a young, impatient cigarette smoker from the city who has stopped by the small, remote village of Chendebji on his way to America, where he can’t wait to make lots of money. But as he sets out on his long journey, he misses his bus and must try to hitch a ride down the mountain on the nearly deserted roads. He is soon joined by an old apple picker (Ap Dochu), a monk who plays the dramyin (Sonam Kinga), a rice-paper maker (Dasho Adab Sangye), and the rice-paper maker’s college-age daughter (Sonam Lhamo). As they wait for rides, the monk begins relating a story about a magic student, Tashi (Lhakpa Dorji), who doesn’t believe in magic and would rather start making money in the corporate world. But his brother, Karma (Namgay Dorjee), who does believe, concocts a plan that soon has Tashi stranded in the middle of the forest with a bitter old man (Gomchen Penjore) and his beautiful, much-younger wife, Deki (Deki Yangzom). Norbu magnificently intertwines the two stories, creating an enchanting, unforgettable film that is filled with heart, hope, and humor.
(Bhutan, 2004; 108 mins.; in Dzongkha with English subtitles)
“People ask, ‘You are a Buddhist lama, why do you make film?’ This question is a bit puzzling. It indicates to me that from certain standpoints working in film is viewed as almost sacrilegious, like I am breaking some kind of holy rule. At the same time, I understand. People automatically associate film with money, sex and violence because there are so many such films coming out of Hollywood and Bollywood. But if only they had access to films by the likes of Ozu, Satyajit Ray, Antonioni, people would understand that filmmaking doesn’t have to be like that. In fact it is a tool. Film is a medium and Buddhism is a science. You can be a scientist and at the same time, you can be a filmmaker.”
Film website: http://www.travellersandmagicians.com/travellers.html
Advance tickets may be purchased at the following locations: Fig Garden Books in Fig Garden Village Shopping Center, The Movies located at 1435 N. Van Ness and the Tower Theatre Box Office