Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Travellers and Magicians"

Movie recommendations: a grand movie to watch on a slow Sunday afternoon. I loved the nesting of the stories--one inside another inside another--and the infinitely slow unfolding that is a slap in the face and a reproof to Hollywood. The second film by the Bhutanese director, lama, and abbot Khyentse Norbu is Travellers and Magicians, the first movie made entirely in Bhutan (1993.) Khyentse Norbu ignored professional actors and gave us a cast that includes "the chief regulator of the country's banking and financial institutions, a colonel in the King's Bodyguard, a monk trained in pure mathematics, a senior researcher with the government strategic planning think tank, employees of the local TV broadcasting corporation, a school principal, school children and farmers." Like Bhutan, the outer story's main character has a foot in two very different worlds . . . as does the main character of the inmost story.


  1. Ooh, that's going on my wish list! I love non-Hollywood films. How did you get your hands on it?

    And how are you surviving your snowstorms? The images on the news look quite horrific in some areas.

  2. Got Netflix? On instant watch.

    Ours has melted away like a dream, for the most part. My daughter is in college in area that was declared disaster. I also have a friend who got stuck in New Paltz on her way back from New York... After seeing her third big-rig truck accident, she stopped.

  3. Thank you Marly. I shall seek this one out. Not a big Hollywood fan these days.

  4. Clive,

    Nor I. And I tend to avoid any medium where the form becomes so rigid that it may influence in a wrong way.

    This movie is lovely, with no rage to "make something happen" constantly jerking the film forward. It also refuses to tie up the world and lives with a big bow.

  5. Now that I've gotten the computer working right (or my IT neighbor does!), I have been able to watch the clip you enclosed here. It looks terrific. Too bad I don't have Netflix--cable instead. But I may buy a copy or go to one of the few video stores left to borrow one.

  6. Marly, we found this film in our library and watched it this evening - absolutely lovely! Thanks for mentioning it.

  7. Robbi,

    Definitely worth digging up!


    I'm glad you like it--love the nesting-doll form and the pace and the characters...


Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.