4 user 61 critic

La lampe au beurre de yak (2013)

Not Rated | | Short, Family | 16 January 2014 (USA)
A young itinerant photographer and his assistant photograph Tibetan nomads in front of various backgrounds.


Wei Hu


Wei Hu

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 24 wins & 9 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview:
Genden Phuntsok Genden Phuntsok ... Le Photographe (as Genden Punstok)
Soepha Soepha ... L'assistant / Le Père
Sonam Gonpo Sonam Gonpo ... Le Jeune Homme
Wangmo Tso Wangmo Tso ... La Soeur 1
Kalsang Dolma Kalsang Dolma ... La Soeur 2
Zirang Lhamo Zirang Lhamo ... L'enfant (tableau 3)
Gangrong Dorjee Gangrong Dorjee ... Le Marié
Leung Tso Leung Tso ... La Mariée
Sonam Tashi Sonam Tashi ... Le chef du village
Yang Tso Yang Tso ... La vieille femme


A young photographer and his assistant suggest to Tibetan nomads to take their picture. Against diverse and more or less exotic backgrounds, families appear to the photographer. Through these shots, the photographer will weave unique links with each of the various villagers. Written by Anonymous

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Short | Family


Not Rated | See all certifications »



France | China



Release Date:

16 January 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Butter Lamp See more »

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Featured in The Oscars (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

Plot less in the worst possible way
3 March 2015 | by Steve PulaskiSee all my reviews

Wei Hu's Butter Lamp is a short film that would be the kind of profound statement on culture, a generational divide, or a shifting time period if it actually had something remotely compelling to say. It concerns a photographer and his assistant as the two men work to create photos for families that stand before a large backdrop, which can be chosen from a wide variety of different landmarks and settings. We see old and young people alike stand before the backdrop, pictures snapped, and small talk exchanged for sixteen minutes.

Anyone remember taking a trip to that quirky photography place at the mall with your family and how agonizing it was to stand still for five minutes while all the members in your family had to perfect their poses so they can receive a portrait that will collect dust on your mantle? Imagine watching the first part of that play out in a short film with nothing remotely compelling to say outside of casual small talk between the photographers and those being photographed.

Usually, I can appreciate such low-key craft, but that craft has to have some element of commentary, realism, or humanity within it and Butter Lamp is the very definition of a short with a great idea that isn't carried out in the slightest. Being that this short hails from France/China, is this a commentary on the conflicting generations or the byproduct of "old and new" demographics within the respective countries? Wei Hu never develops the short beyond its basic idea and that makes this entire endeavor incredibly flat and disappointing.

Starring: Genden Punstock. Directed by: Wei Hu.

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