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The two men embark on parallel, if separate, journeys. Their yearning is a common one--for a better and different life. Dondup, delayed by the timeless pace of his village, is forced to hitchhike through the beautiful wild countryside of Bhutan to reach his goal. He shares the road with a monk, an apple seller, a papermaker and his beautiful young daughter, Sonam. Throughout the journey, the perceptive yet mischievous monk relates the story of Tashi. It is a mystical fable of lust, jealousy and murder, that holds up a mirror to the restless Dondup, and his blossoming attraction to the innocent Sonam. The cataclysmic conclusion of the monk's tale leaves Dondup with a dilemma--is the grass truly greener on the other side? Written by
Sujit R. Varma
It's a bit simplistic to call this a "road movie", but certainly much of the story follows a group of unlikely Bhutanese travellers hitch-hiking and riding in all manner of vehicles. Interspersed with this theme is a second story of a love triangle in the rugged mountains. Both stories are commentaries about the complexities of life and romance in the Himalayas as western ways take root.
Comparisons will inevitably be drawn with Khyentse Norbu's earlier movie, The Cup, and I have to admit that I preferred The Cup. I'll never forget the youthful exuberance of those monks as the World Cup soccer final approached. And I feel the Buddhist message was a bit more direct in The Cup.
However, the tagline of Travellers and Magicians is "The bitter and sweet of temporary things", and this sounds pretty Buddhist to me. We tend to forget that everything is transitory and grasp at it as if it will exist forever, and this is the cause of our suffering.
And that, kind friends, is the extent of my Buddhist wisdom for today.
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