Khyentse Norbu is a Nepalese Buddhist monk I follow for a few years now. Not your typical lama, dressed in traditional robe and preaching – although, at times, he does that too. Khyentse Norbu, a recognized tulku (reincarnated master) is significantly more active in a specific laic area, namely directing movies – and I’m not talking about plain teaching movies, with an open Buddhist theme, but more like artistic, story-telling and well built movies. Of course, being a Buddhist monk, you shouldn’t expect huge productions or expensive actors (although I don’t see why this wouldn’t happen at some point). But do expect a lot of care to details and incredibly well articulated teams (they get done a lot with very little). And, obviously, expect movies which are passing a message in sync with the dharma, just not that scholastic.
His latest movie is called “Looking For A Lady With Fangs And A Moustache“. I just saw it the other evening, and I will try to give you a little bit of insight, just enough so you could also feel intrigued and motivated to search it and watch it – because it is really good. Now, I’ve said it.
So, the plot is really simple, a young “modern” Nepalese wants to start a coffee shop (using his mothers life savings) and he begins by searching for the perfect place for it. At some point he gets into an abandoned temple, which seems the perfect location, only it’s not really like that. From this point on, the story diverges into a mix of surreal, real and in-between activity that flows in a gentle, almost magical way.
Characters are more diverse in this movie, at least compared with his last one, “Hema Hema, Sing Me A Song While I Wait”. They are also more complex and with various depths, ranging from standard, flat “coffee shop partner”, up to “strange young Buddhist monk wearing sunglasses inside and having a weird addiction to morning cereals”. Dialogues, when not telegraphic, are humorous. The dynamic between real characters, fictional ones and own character’s projections can get hypnotizing at some point, but you never lose the story.
At the end of the movie, you remain with a hefty chunk of life that was transported to you, with a sense of flowing and a more cohesive idea about what dakinis are.
If you don’t know what dakinis are, by the way, then this movie is for you.