Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom
Mon 3 April 6:00pm
Director: Pawo Choyning Dorji
Starring Sherab Dorji, Ugyen Norbu Lhendup, Kelden Lhamo Gurung, Kunzang Wangdi
An indifferent young teacher, Ugyen (Sherhab Dorji) is assigned to a remote school high in the mountains of Bhutan. It’s beautiful, but far from where he’d rather be – Australia, to switch careers and become a singer – and a week-long trek from his home in the capital Thimphu. There’s no phone reception, little electricity and spartan accommodation. But there are a host of bright-eyed children eager to learn, plus new friends to make in the form of Lunana locals Michen (Ugyen Norbu Lhendup), Salden (Kelden Lhamo Gurung), and a number of yaks.
Shot in staggeringly beautiful locations, Pawo Choyning Dorji’s directorial debut Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom – Bhutan’s first-ever Oscars entry for Best International Feature – explores the potential for finding contentment in unexpected places (a concept key to Bhutan, which famously declared Gross National Happiness its most important measure of national success). Balancing gentle humour with life-affirming drama, performed with easy appeal by largely first-time actors, it’s an entertaining, irresistibly uplifting tale about the power of a new environment to effect personal transformation.
★★★★ “The story behind Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is almost as heartwarming as the tale that it tells…” The Observer
“There is something winning in this calm, walking-pace drama – and the landscape is amazing.” Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian