Director: Pawo Choyning Dorji
Cast includes: Sherhab Dorji, Kelden Lhamo Gurung
Presented by Hastings Triratna Buddhist Group
110 Mins / 2019 / Bhutan/China, Subtitles

An indifferent young teacher, Ugyen (Sherhab Dorji) is assigned to a remote school high in the mountains of Bhutan. It’s beautiful, but far from where he’d rather be – Australia, to switch careers and become a singer – and a week-long trek from his home in the capital Thimphu. There’s no phone reception, little electricity and spartan accommodation. But there are a host of bright-eyed children eager to learn, plus new friends to make in the form of Lunana locals Michen (Ugyen Norbu Lhendup), Salden (Kelden Lhamo Gurung), and a number of yaks.

Shot in staggeringly beautiful locations, Pawo Choyning Dorji’s directorial debut Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom – Bhutan’s first-ever Oscars entry for Best International Feature – explores the potential for finding contentment in unexpected places (a concept key to Bhutan, which famously declared Gross National Happiness its most important measure of national success).

Balancing gentle humour with life-affirming drama, performed with easy appeal by largely first-time actors, it’s an entertaining, irresistibly uplifting tale about the power of a new environment to effect personal transformation.

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