Sep 12, 2016

Travellers and Magicians (2003)

Travellers and Magicians (2003) movie poster
Travellers and Magicians is a 2003 Bhutanese Dzongkha language film written and directed by Khyentse Norbu, a reincarnate lama of Tibetan Buddhism, who is also known as Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche. The movie is the first feature film shot entirely in the Kingdom of Bhutan. The majority of the cast are not professional actors; Dendup, a well-known Bhutanese radio actor and producer, is the exception. This movie is among the first to take a Himalayan Buddhist perspective.

The two men embark on parallel, if separate, journeys. Their yearning is a common one--for a better and different life. Dondup, delayed by the timeless pace of his village, is forced to hitchhike through the beautiful wild countryside of Bhutan to reach his goal. He shares the road with a monk, an apple seller, a papermaker and his beautiful young daughter, Sonam.

freddy and krasnaya movie review


K: My first Bhutanese film experience and I can say BRAVO! Khyentse Norbu did a really great job bringing the Buddhist world view into his film. It's a really calm movie with great relaxing Bhutanese music and breathtaking landscapes. These views made me feel like going there and seeing all that beauty with my own eyes.

F: You're going to watch another one soon. We have The Cup on our list from the same director. OK, now here's something you don't see everyday; a Road Movie in Buthan directed by a Tibetan Buddhist. And what an amazing job Khyentse Norbu does here. Beautiful cinematography and spectacular scenery! I'm already checking prices for us to visit Thimphu.
It seems like you can watch the full movie on YouTube with subtitles:

K: It's also for me a really patriotic movie. The monk in this movie tells a story about a wonderland which people try to find and this ends up being not a really great decision for those people. I loved watching it also because there are no professional actors, which made it for me more sincere and naive... every character is so unique, even if some of them hardly speak during the entire movie. Another thing I liked was the atmosphere full of traditional spirit!

F: The 2 stories in the film are very intriguing and I was left wondering in which way they correlate with each other. Obviously, there's some Buddhist philosophy and teachings in this movie; about its usual stuff; attachment, desire and delusion. I love the way the movie ends, leaving the journey of Dondup suspended and making you wonder if he ever takes that plane to the USA.
Watch Dzongsar Rinpoche talk about his upcoming movie here:

K: I recommend this Bhutanese art house movie and I'm sure it will leave you in a great mood and probably inspire you! One thing about my experience... avoid watching it lying down, especially after a meal... it can be toooooo relaxing... I had to "rewind it" after a quick nap.

F: It was a great trip, relaxing and reflective, and I recommend this movie to anyone who likes traveling and new experiences.
And here's a quick travel guide to Buthan:

Krasnaya Score - 85/100
Freddy's Score - 85/100

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