A Film by Khyentse Norbu
 

From the Acclaimed director of THE CUP , TRAVELLERS and MAGICIANS,

VARA a Blessing , HEMA HEMA : Sing Me a Song While I Wait 

 

SYNOPSIS

In our increasingly mechanized and automated world that frowns on superstition and mysticism, this story shows how vitally relevant our disappearing ancient wisdom and traditional beliefs still are. In particular, the film focuses on the age-old Himalayan respect for and celebration of feminine energy as the most supreme aspect of being. This energy is personified in tantric Buddhism by dakinis who may appear as mysterious living beings who give or take away our life force and guide or ruin our lives. While only realized adepts like the character of O.T. in this film, who is based on an exceptional living master, are today able to summon this vital energy through esoteric dakini practices, it so crucial to our volatile era that the times demand it be communicated to a wider audience.

That’s what this film tries to do through the eyes of Tenzin, a sceptical and ambitious young Tibetan entrepreneur who is caught between the modern and traditional worlds. Somewhat driven and obsessive, Tenzin is focussed single-mindedly on creating Kathmandu’s best coffee shop. Though he disparages superstition, Tenzin is suddenly tormented by peculiar and recurring dreams and images that signal his imminent death. The audience will identify with both the character and the paranoid panic that can seize even the most hardened sceptics when faced with the reality of their own death.

Sages and ancient texts advise that only finding a special dakini can save Tenzin’s life. The character’s desperate search for the woman who now holds his life in her hands brings him face to face with his own neuroses and attachments and with the speed, frenzy, distraction and rational limitations of modern life.

This story is interwoven with sub-plots, including Tenzin’s best friend’s hidden love for a sparkling young Tibetan songstress with a secret life; the efforts of that songstress’ old father and Tenzin’s mother to preserve a traditional Tibetan song art on the verge of extinction; the frustrations of Tenzin’s colourful business partners as his obsession with imminent death distracts him from his work obligations, and more. Through these sub-plots, the film also depicts the often painful ways in which our personal fixations and preoccupations short-circuit genuine communication. And yet there is a warmth, tenderness, undertone of mystery, and subtle humour in all the characters and their interactions with which the audience will empathize.

 

KHYENTSE NORBU

Born in 1961 in Bhutan, Khyentse Norbu has written and directed several award-winning feature films, receiving accolades and honours at numerous prestigious international film festivals.

 

His first film The Cup (1999) became an international sensation after its premiere screening at the Cannes Film Festival’s prestigious Director’s Fortnight. It went on to win critical acclaim and official selections at major festivals worldwide, including Sundance, Hong Kong, London and Moscow. It won awards at four international festivals, including an International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) award at Busan and an audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

 

Norbu’s second film, Travellers & Magicians (2003), was the first full-length feature film shot in the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. It premiered at the Venice International Film Festival and went on to the Toronto, Busan, Golden Horse (Taipei), Sao Paulo, London, Sydney, Moscow and other international film festivals, winning three awards.