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