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Travellers & Magicians
Travellers Magicians
Actors: Tsewang Dandup, Sonam Lhamo, Lhakpa Dorji, Deki Yangzom, Sonam Kinga
Director: Khyentse Norbu
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
UR     2005     1hr 48min

Mystical journeys of spiritual discovery are set against the spectacular, evocative landscape of the remote kingdom of Bhutan in TRAVELLERS & MAGICIANS Young government official Dondup (Tshewang Dendup) dreams of escaping...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Tsewang Dandup, Sonam Lhamo, Lhakpa Dorji, Deki Yangzom, Sonam Kinga
Director: Khyentse Norbu
Creators: Alan Kozlowski, Khyentse Norbu, Andrew McCormick, John Scott, Jeremy Thomas, Malcolm Watson, Raymond Steiner
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama
Studio: Zeitgeist Films
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Subtitled
DVD Release Date: 10/25/2005
Original Release Date: 01/01/2005
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 48min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 4
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Subtitles: English

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Movie Reviews

"A Blossom Is Only Beautiful Because It Is Temporary" ~ Mo
Brian E. Erland | Brea, CA - USA | 11/19/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Note: Dzonghka with English subtitles.

Expertly written and directed by Khyentse Norbu, 'Traveller & Magicians' is an enchanting tale of self-discovery and the realization that ones' hopes and dreams are not always as far off as one might think.

Dondup (Tsewang Dandup) hates the life he leads in a remote Himalayan village. Even though he holds an important position he dreams of a life in America with a high paying job and an attractive, sexy wife. He constantly reminds his friends that there are no pretty girls in their small community.

He finally receives a letter from a close friend already in America who has arrainged Dondup's passage to the U.S.A. The only problem is he has only two days to get to the point of departure. Not an easy task considering the isolated, mountainous region of his village and the lack of modern transportation. He is forced to hitchhike the distance.

On the way Dondup is joined by a monk (Sonam Kinga), a drunk, an old man on his way to market to sell apples and another elderly man from Dondup's village traveling with his young and beautiful daughter Sonam (Sonam Lhamo) who has just returned from school to help her recently widowed Father with his rice paper business.

During the two day journey the intuitive monk discerns the inner turmoil within Dondup and his growing affection for Sonam. He cleverly weaves a wonderful tale about an imaginary young man named Tashi (Lhakpa Dorji) and his love affair with the lovely and married Deki (Deki Yangzom) in an effort to help the confused fellow traveller decide what path in life is right for him. By the end of the journey Dondrup has come to realize the truth of the monks statement, "What we hoped for yesterday, we dread today."

This is storytelling at its finest against the backdrop of the enchanting Bhutan countryside. A bittersweet look at life in transition. Very highly recommended!!"
A Buddhist "Going My Way"
OkieRambler | 04/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Filmed entirely in Bhutan, "Travelers and Magicians" is a universal tale of a young man with big dreams and no real plan to achieve them.

A twenty-something government official is sent to a small village so remote there is no television, no nightlife, and, as far as he can tell, no pretty girls. The local entertainment consists of archery competitions. This lifestyle just will not do for a thoroughly modern young man who sports an "I (heart) New York" T-shirt and and who prefers high top sneakers to sturdy mountain boots.

The young man jumps at a chance to go to the United States. But he has to lie to his boss to get away and on his way out of town people keep stopping him and offering him their hospitality. By the time he makes it to the road, he's missed his bus to Bhutan's capital. There won't be another bus for a week, so he begins his journey on foot.

Then the fun begins as he reluctantly acquires an odd assortment of companions, including a well traveled Buddhist priest who is more than a little concerned about the young man's vague plans for making it big in America.

Instead of preaching, the priest entertains his companions with a cautionary tale about a lazy young magician who also wanted to run away from home in order to find his "dreamland."

The young man is just beginning to warm to the priest's story when they are joined by a rice paper merchant and his beautiful daughter. The pair is also going to the capital. From there, the merchant says he's taking the girl, who has been away at boarding school, back home to the very village our hero has left behind.

Although he initially dismisses the girl when the merchant explains that her test scores weren't good enough for college, he discovers that she's very bright and funny, and that they enjoy each other's company. She confides that her test scores were fine, but she's going home because her father needs help with his business.

Suddenly the lights of New York aren't shining so brightly after all. What will the young man do?

This is a sweet, funny, and gently thoughtful movie about dreams, duty, impermanence, and how small events can change the course of one's life.

This movie made me both think and smile. I hope you will let it do the same for you."
Well crafted film fuses noir, comedy, and multi-culti
LGwriter | Astoria, N.Y. United States | 08/08/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"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.
A powerful and beautiful journey through self-realization...
D. Pawl | Seattle | 09/23/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I reccomend that everyone see this, if not for the fact that it is a beautifully told story, but that, I believe, this is one of the few (if not the only) Bhutanese film released in the United States.

"Travellers & Magicians" doesn't rely on loud, boisterous special effects, airbrushed superstars or computer-generated chase sequences. What it does rely on is a believable plot line, an exasperated lead character, Dondup (Tshewang Dendup), who wants nothing more but to leave his tired Bhutanese village, go into the big city, and, ultimately leave for the United States. Dondup is dissatisfied with his government job, the fact that there are few (if any) cute girls for him to acquaint himself with, no movie theatres or restaurants. This is a universal plight that anyone from a small town (or village) can relate to, be they in Bhutan or in a small town in the flatlands of the United States. As he attempts to leave, during one of the village festivals, he encounters a monk, a fruit vendor, an elderly man and his daughter. They are all trying to hitch a ride, for various reasons. Although, the self-absorbed Dondup is, at first, rather annoyed at his unsolicited companions, he eventually becomes drawn into the monk's storytelling. In fact, he is so compelled to hear the conclusion of the story (parallel to his plight), that he allows the fruit vendor to leave on the next tour bus out, just to stay behind and listen to the conclusion.

This film examines "the grass is greener" view that we all share, regardless of culture. Is it really the environment with which we surround ourselves (the outer), or our own general outlook on life (the inner), that determines our ultimate satisfaction with life? Just something to ponder......"