7.5/10
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Travelers and Magicians (2003)

Travellers and Magicians (original title)
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 ... See full summary »

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2 wins & 2 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Credited cast:
Tshewang Dendup ...
Dondup
Sonam Lhamo ...
Sonam
Lhakpa Dorji ...
Tashi
Deki Yangzom ...
Deki
Sonam Kinga ...
The Monk
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Dorji Budha ...
Villager of Chendebaji
Sanga Budha ...
Villager of Chendebaji
Sumcho Budha ...
Kinzang Wangchuk
Nim Buthri ...
Villager of Chendebaji
Aum Chenzom ...
Girl in Field
Sonam Choepel ...
Magic Student
Neten Chokling ...
Bus Driver
Lam Dawup ...
Magic Student
Chhmi Dem ...
Villager of Chendebaji
Kinzang Dem ...
Villlager of Chendebaji
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The bitter and the sweet of temporary things

Genres:

Drama | Adventure

Certificate:

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Details

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Release Date:

21 April 2004 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Travelers and Magicians  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$33,815 (USA) (11 February 2005)

Gross:

$505,295 (USA) (15 July 2005)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First film to be shot in Bhutan, the Himalayan nation/kingdom that was prototype for Lost Horizon (1937). See more »

Quotes

Sonam: [Answering Dondup, who is wondering why she won't pursue higher education when she has the opportunity to do so] I want to help my father. My mother's dead, and he's all alone. Isn't it our duty to look after our parents when they're old?
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Connections

Featured in Getaway: Episode #15.37 (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Well crafted film fuses noir, comedy, and multi-culti
30 January 2005 | by (Astoria, NY) – See all my reviews

In this, his second film, Khyentse Norbu shows how skilled a filmmaker he really is. An ordained lama, he studied independent film-making in New York and here it really pays off. While his first film, The Cup, was a well done portrait of life in Bhutan, Travellers and Magicians is that and much more. Taking his cue from, among other works, the great Ju Dou by Zhang Yimou, Norbu gives us a village official who longs for the excitement and money to be had in America.

Sporting shiny white new athletic shoes, the official makes his way to the main road where he tries to catch a bus to Thimbu, first stop on his journey. But he misses the bus and soon meets up with an interesting assortment of fellow travelers--an old apple seller, a monk, and a farmer with his beautiful daughter. While waiting for the bus--or anyone driving who can give any or all of them a ride--they're entertained by the monk who tells a tale of a young apprentice magician who loses his way in a large forest and comes upon an old man and his much younger wife.

Norbu intercuts the ongoing tale with different legs of the travelers' journey on the seemingly endless road. The editing chops on display here are truly impressive, marking this as the work of a director who really knows how to make a film grab the viewer. We see the young magician lying in bed at night, thinking only of the young wife, and dissolve to the official waking up in the morning, having no doubt thought of the farmer's daughter much of the night.

This is much more than great editing; it gives us strong links between how we live our lives and how we imagine our lives should be lived. The tales we tell, the ones we remember, are those that inform how we feel we should or could do what we're not doing now. It's our memory of another story--what we read long ago, or what someone told us long ago--that gives us the unofficial subconscious laws we live by. That's what Norbu tells us in this great film.

A giant leap forward from The Cup, Travellers and Magicians is a first class cinematic work that should be seen by many.

Highly recommended.


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