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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A spectacular metaphor on timeless values, 11 Jan 2006
This review is from: Travellers & Magicians [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Framed by the beauty of the Himalayan landscape and culture a story, maybe of the past?, enfolds itself within a story of the present in the Buddhist kingdom of Bhutan.
A young man shaped by traditions rooted in the past have this longing to travel to the land of his dreams far away across The Pacific and finally gets on his way. By the "magic" of a storytelling Buddhist monk, who for a while becomes his travelling companion, the striving youngster realizes that the land of your dreams can be a complex goal. And he understands how the magic he's searching for is already there, but is only recognized with an open mind and heart.
Enjoy the enchanting pictures, the charming characters and the almost naive beauty of it all, - a cinematic gift in times of overwhelming computer animation or clichés in the fast lane.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magic en route, 4 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Travellers & Magicians [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
This is Bhutan's first ever feature film and is astoundingly well produced, edited and shot. Especially considering that none of the infrastructure of a film industry was in place. As the interesting 'extras' explain part of the project was to give local Bhutanese people skills and understanding about how international films are made. The other information that amazed me given some of the mature performances, particularly by the actress playing Deki (who features on the sleeve artwork), is that (almost) all the actors were first-timers.

Aside from supporting the fledgling Bhutanese film industry if, like me, you're unlikely to visit Bhutan then the film shows some of it's beauty and spirit and is worth watching for that alone. Although most of it is shot from the mountainous main road the story within the story is shot in the contrasting forest areas of Bhutan. It captures village life and festivals and the Bhutanese love of archery as well as telling some of its stories and capturing some of its magic. From the script it is easy to see Kyentse Norbu's wit from his earlier film The Cup (1999)(Eng Subs) DVD although the production and accomplishment here is in a different league. So this is a film worth watching on it's own merits.

It has a clear didactic message for the Bhutanese audience 'the grass is not always greener on the other side' as the first film in Dzongkha (the official language of Government) it's a message that will reach a wide audience. The narrative follows a newly appointed Government Official to a small village who receives an offer of help with a visa to the U.S. but as the letter arrives late he has to rush across a land that doesn't rush to reach the capital in time for his interview. What makes it a worthwhile journey for the audience is the story that his traveling companion, a Buddhist Monk, tells him as the journey unfolds. Over half of the film is this old Buddhist fable from Bhutan vividly brought to life.

They are joined by fellow travelers, a rice paper seller and his daughter and an apple seller. Each has a representational role in a film that is a modern Buddhist fable about the relentless rush to modernity which bypasses older more intergrated ways of living. They all then listen to the monks unfolding story as they travel, wait and camp by the side of the road. The changes from one story to the other are very well done and the atmosphere of the 'story within the story' is hypnotic. Whether the story of the monk has the desired effect on the Government Official I'll leave you to discover but towards the end I felt like one of the companions waiting to find out how the story ended. So although the film isn't without it's cross cultural gliches (I suspect the central performance plays better in Bhutan) it certainly worked its magic on me.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Walking the path, 20 Aug 2008
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I. Maia (Europe) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Travellers & Magicians [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
I'm not good at commenting and analysing stories that are brilliantly simple. There's just not much to say. Watch it!
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Travellers & Magicians [DVD] [2005] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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