From writer-director Pawo Choyning Dorji, Bhutan’s first-ever Academy Award nominee for Best International Feature is a serene comedy-drama set in the country’s picturesque Himalayan highlands.
Ugyen (Sherab Dorji) is a disillusioned schoolteacher and aspiring musician in Bhutan’s capital city, Thimphu. With one year left in his current teaching contract, he is eager to cut out for Australia in pursuit of a singing career when he is abruptly reassigned to the village of Lunana, and the most remote school in the country (if not the entire world). With no electricity let alone a blackboard to work with, Ugyen is nonetheless presented with the chance for a new connection to music, and an unexpected sense of purpose within the community’s embrace.
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is much more than a typical fish-out-of-water lark. With photographer-turned-filmmaker Dorji’s gentle storytelling and his eye for the sweeping, pastoral Eastern Himalayan landscapes, this debut feature is a visually stunning, affirming, heartwarming contemplation on belonging.