VISUAL / ARTISTIC APROACH
The traditional wisdom that Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache
strives to portray is reflected through the entire look and feel of the film. For
example, in sharp contrast to modern methods that increasingly cater to short
attention spans, this film was crafted to give the audience ample time for
contemplation through slow and sometimes unmoving images, using a hand-
held camera, steadicam or gimbal.
The film also deliberately avoids too many close-ups and (to the degree
possible) even medium shots. Even when using a wide angle, it also avoids
having the camera close to the actors.
The story – which revolves around a person who thinks he may die within afew days – also employs some unusual use of sound. At times, for example,there is total silence on screen – almost as if something had gone wrong withthe sound of the film.
This, together with the occasional unmoving images mentioned above give the
film as a whole a very atypical rhythm that dramatizes the sense of impending
death, and that both highlight and short-circuit the speediness of our modern
One key artistic element is the use of both camera angles and sound effects to
emphasize the presence of the very ordinary objects of everyday life. While
we generally ignore, take for granted, or sub-consciously consign such
ordinariness to the background, these mundane objects suddenly become
poignantly meaningful in the face of imminent death.
As noted in the Director’s statement, Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a
Moustache uses untrained actors primarily to ensure they are absolutely
genuine. From his previous films, the Director, Khyentse Norbu, has
considerable experience working with non-professionals to provide just the
right type of advance training required for effective and consistent portrayal
of the characters without ever compromising the actors’ human naturalness.
What is unusual about this film as a whole and even takes us into new film-
making territory, are the various cinematic ways the film creates a unique
“look and feel” that carry audiences into a transcendent and even magical
dimension of existence that nevertheless feels strangely familiar.