'The Monk And The Gun': Bhutan's Oscar Entry Sets Release Date
Pawo Choyning Dorji, the mastermind behind the Oscar-nominated "Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom," returns with his sophomore feature, "The Monk and the Gun."
Release Date and Official Trailer:
"The Monk and the Gun" is gearing up for a global release, with Roadside Attractions slated to unveil it in the United States in February 2024. The film, which premiered at the 2023 Telluride Film Festival, has already garnered widespread acclaim. International distributors, including Pyramide Distribution (France), September Films (Benelux), Rialto Distribution (Australia), and others, have secured the rights to bring this Bhutanese masterpiece to audiences worldwide.
Plot Synopsis and Setting:
Set in 2006, against the backdrop of Bhutan's transition to democracy and the onset of modernization, "The Monk and the Gun" intricately weaves a tale of change and resistance. As the Kingdom embraces the internet and television for the first time, the film takes us to a small village where the clash between tradition and Westernization unfolds. A mock election is organized to teach the locals how to vote, revealing a palpable skepticism among the villagers. Meanwhile, a monk plans a mysterious ceremony on election day, adding an intriguing layer to the narrative.
Cast and Crew:
The film boasts a talented cast, including Tandin Wangchuk, Deki Lhamo, Pema Zangmo Sherpa, and Tandin Sonam, among others. Dorji's decision to maintain relatability to Bhutan is evident not only in the cast but also in the scale of production, staying true to the essence of the story he wishes to tell.
Produced by Dangphu Dingphu, a 3 Pigs Production, and Journey to the East Films, "The Monk and the Gun" is a co-production involving Films Boutique, Tomson Films, Closer Media, Animandala, N8 Studios, and Wooden Trailer Prods.
Critical Acclaim and Festival Reception:
Premiering at Telluride and subsequently gracing prestigious festivals like Toronto, Rome, and Busan, the film has garnered praise for its genuine optimism and healthy skepticism. IndieWire's review noted Dorji's ability to document Bhutan's modernization with a lens of optimism, while also subtly questioning the imposition of democracy without the people's genuine desire for it.
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