This is a very charming first solo film by Khentyse Norbu Rinpoche looking at life for young monks in a Tibetan monastery in exile in India.
The film centres around a young novice’s obsession with the 1998 world cup and his efforts to get to watch the games, and how his supervisors deal with that.
A secondary story is that of two young boys who are smuggled out of Tibet to become monks at the same monastery, and who are exposed to what is in fact quite a different culture.
One of them is put in the same room as the young football fan and is introduced to the thrills of the game for the first time.
It is Rinpoche’s eye for character and dialogue that really shine out in the film, which avoids idealism and romanticism and shows how tolerance and understanding play out in peoples’ real lives.
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