Khyentse Norbu

Khyentse Norbu

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Khyentse Norbu


Buddhist lama Khyentse Norbu steps into an unexpected line of work directing 'The Cup'

The movie industry seems to be overflowing with hyphenates more than ever these days. Writer-directors have been common for years. Actor-directors are becoming more common every day (Angelica Huston and Edward Norton have recently joined the ranks of Mel Gibson, Kevin Costner and dozens of others), as are actor-producers (Drew Barrymore, Tom Cruise). Occasionally you'll even see an actor-writer-director.

Here's a new one: Writer-director-Tibetan monk.

Khyentse Norbu, a lama recognized as the incarnation of a 19th Century Buddhist saint, was bitten by the filmmaking bug in 1992 when he served as a consultant on Bernardo Bertolucci's "Little Buddha." In between duties of devotion, he soon began experimenting with short films and last year he completed his first feature, a modest and supremely entertaining slice-of-life comedy called "The Cup," about the students at one of his monasteries in Bhutan going bananas with World Cup fever.

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Travellers And Magicians Review


Excellent
If you're going to tell a tall tale of the Himalaya, it can't hurt to be a Buddhist lama. Forty-three-year-old Khyentse Norbu first wowed Western audiences in 1999 with The Cup, a delightful story about young soccer-crazed Tibetan monks in exile in India who go to extreme lengths to watch the World Cup on TV. His craftily constructed follow-up, Travellers and Magicians, is no less enchanting and touching. Starring non-professional actors (who knows how and where Norbu found them all), it's a strange trip to a unique place.

The first film to come out of the mysterious and beautiful kingdom of Bhutan, Travellers follows a frustrated and America-obsessed government officer Dondup (Tshewang Dendup) as he tries to leave his village and make contact with a connection who will get him to America, his "dreamland," a place where "you can do anything... wash dishes, pick apples, anything." Clomping through the hillside village with an "I Love NY" t-shirt pulled over his traditional garments, he's extremely impatient to leave. Unfortunately, Dondup misses the infrequent bus to town -- a very unlucky circumstance in transportation-starved Bhutan -- and finds himself walking and hitching with his turquoise suitcase hoping he'll make it in time.

Continue reading: Travellers And Magicians Review

The Cup Review


Good
A lighthearted look at the modern monk. Apparently it's not all prayers and sand drawings -- real monks love soccer. The cup in question is the World Cup, and the movie (inspired by true events) traces the chaos that two young upstart lamas bring to a monastery when they expose it to the game of football. Ponderous yet utterly harmless, The Cup is ultimately a cute little diversion.

Continue reading: The Cup Review

Khyentse Norbu

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Khyentse Norbu Movies

Travellers and Magicians Movie Review

Travellers and Magicians Movie Review

If you're going to tell a tall tale of the Himalaya, it can't hurt to...

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