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While the soccer World Cup is being played in France, two young Tibetan refugees arrive at a monastery/boarding school in exile in India. Its atmosphere of serene contemplation is somewhat disrupted by soccer fever, the chief instigator being a young student, the soccer enthusiast Orgyen. Prevented by various circumstances from seeing the Cup finals on television in a nearby village, Orgyen sets out to organize the rental of a TV set for the monastery. The enterprise becomes a test of solidarity, resourcefulness and friendship for the students, while the Lama, head of the monastery, contemplates the challenges of teaching the word of Buddha in a rapidly changing world.Written by
Can we cover the earth in leather so it's soft wherever we go?
So what can we do?
Wear leather sandals?
Yes, wearing leather sandals is equal to covering the earth with leather.
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This film is an authentic look at the situation that many young Tibetan men and boys find themselves in following the Chinese occupation of Tibet. But the film doesn't dwell on Tibetan politics, it is a light-hearted and elegantly-simple film inspired by true events at a Tibetan monastery-in-exile in Bhutan, where young Buddhist monks develop an interest in the World Cup soccer final.
The Abbot of the monastery and the older Lamas just have no idea what soccer is, and there is a humorous scene where the old Lama is sleeping in the sun and the young monk Orgyen comes up to him:
Orgyen: "Do a prediction for us Lama"; Old Lama: "Can't you see I'm busy!"; Orgyen: "At least say prayers for France"; Old Lama: "Are they sick?!!?"
And when everyone has seen the World Cup final, the serious Buddhist message comes home, in a beautiful way...
"If a problem can be solved, why be unhappy? And if it cannot, what is the use of being unhappy?"
'The Cup' contrasts strongly with earlier big-budget, stylised, productions about Tibetan Buddhism such as 'Seven Years in Tibet' and 'Kundun'. It is in the same vein as 'Samsara', which is also a very good film.
PS Director Khyentse Norbu (who is said to be a re-incarnate Lama) also has a new movie out -- 'Travellers and Magicians' (2003).
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