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Travellers & Magicians
(DVD)


Writer-director Khyentse Norbu, who scored an international hit with the 1999 drama THE CUP (PHORPA), about Tibetan refugees obsessed with watching the World Cup soccer finals, returns to his homeland to make the remarkably charming and engaging TRAVELLERS & MAGICIANS, the first feature-length film to be made completely within the Kingdom of Bhutan. Norbu, who worked with Bernardo Bertolucci on 1997's LITTLE BUDDHA, is believed to be His Eminence Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, an incarnate lama, and he infuses TRAVELLERS & MAGICIANS with a thoughtful and contemplative Buddhist mind-set. Tshewang Dendup stars as Dondup, a young, impatient cigarette smoker from the city who has stopped by the small, remote village of Chendebji on his way to America, where he can't wait to make lots of money. But as he sets out on his long journey, he misses his bus and must try to hitch a ride down the mountain on the nearly deserted roads. He is soon joined by an old apple picker (Ap Dochu), a monk who plays the dramyin (Sonam Kinga), a rice-paper maker (Dasho Adab Sangye), and the rice-paper maker's college-age daughter (Sonam Lhamo). As they wait for rides, the monk begins relating a story about a magic student, Tashi (Lhakpa Dorji), who doesn't believe in magic and would rather start making money in the corporate world. But his brother, Karma (Namgay Dorjee), who does believe, concocts a plan that soon has Tashi stranded in the middle of the forest with a bitter old man (Gomchen Penjore) and his beautiful, much-younger wife, Deki (Deki Yangzom). Norbu magnificently intertwines the two stories, creating an enchanting, unforgettable film that is filled with heart, hope, and humor.