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Review: Travellers and Magicians

2.5
Travellers and Magicians

Travellers and Magicians is the story of a dream within a story. Dondup, a government official chaffing under the sedate pace of life in a remote Bhutanese village, decides to abandon his post and try for a chance to immigrate to the “dreamland” of America. Along the way, he encounters several fellow travelers, among them a relentlessly pedagogical monk who entertains the small band with the fairy tale of Tashi, a disinterested student of magic who, like Dondup, is bored with his life and ends up wandering far from home. What Tashi finds on his journey provides writer-director Khyentse Norbu with the substance of his parable: Tashi’s story becomes Dondup’s inward glance, the artful reflection of his own internal conflict. As the strange adventure of Tashi’s dream world begins to develop pockets of ambiguity so does Dondup’s certainty about the intractable rightness of his own decision to leave. Norbu asks the disquieting question of how one tells if a dream is an illusion, and, while perhaps a bit too creakingly stiff in its allegory, his film’s refusal to provide a simple answer is touchingly appropriate.

Cast: Tshewang Dendup, Sonam Lhamo, Lhakpa Dorji, Deki Yangzomi, Sonam Kinga Director: Khyentse Norbu Screenwriter: Khyentse Norbu Distributor: Zeitgeist Films Running Time: 108 min Rating: NR Year: 2004 Buy: Video

“Tell the truth but tell it slant”
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