Director: Khyentse Norbu
Cast includes: Tenzin Kunsel
Presented by Hastings Triratna Buddhist Group
113 mins / 2019 / Nepal / Mexico / Singapore, subtitles

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The latest film by award-winning director, Khyentse Norbu. ('The Cup' and 'Travellers and Magicians')

A Nepalese entrepreneur searches for spiritual enlightenment, hoping to avert a fatal prophecy. Looking to set up a new cafe, Tenzin sees unnerving visions after scouting an abandoned temple. With mounting fear, he follows the gnomic suggestions of a Buddhist monk in shades and a master sage, who insists that he find a goddess manifest on earth, known as a dakini.

Tenzin is a hip modern guy in bluejeans with a wide smile that vanishes as soon as he has to seek self-awareness. The cozy streets of Kathmandu become like a place without a map to him as he scans passing strangers for signs of divine femininity. There’s an echo of romantic comedy as the monk and the master sage feed him tips and ritual gestures, and it appears the woman he seeks could be right under his nose, in the form of a singer (Tenzin Kunsel) from his music lessons.

Norbu’s film offers steady levels of intoxication, giving constant pleasure while never quite tipping into flamboyance. The widescreen cinematography by Mark Lee Ping Bing (of 'In the Mood for Love') marries elegant compositions to colors so rich you can almost taste them, with nocturnal sequences especially lovely. There is much attractive traditional music heard and frequently played onscreen here, but also room for some quirkier soundtrack choices, including a Tom Waits cut and Tomas Mendez’s Mexican huapango classic “Cucurrucucu Paloma.”

In our increasingly mechanised and automated world that frowns on superstition and mysticism, this story shows how vitally relevant our disappearing ancient wisdom and traditional beliefs still are.

"Khyentse Norbu himself is a lama who as a child was pronounced the third incarnation of the founder of Tibetan Buddhism’s Khyentse lineage. As in his prior features, religious teachings are seldom spelled out, but gently sublimated in an anecdotal progress. Once again he’s also used nonprofessional actors to good effect, coaxing performances that belie any inexperience." - Variety

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