The Monk and the Gun (2023)
Director: Pawo Choyning Dorji Run Time: 106 min. Rating: PG-13 Release Year: 2024
Starring: Deki Lhamo, Pema Zangmo Sherpa, Tandin Phubz, Tandin Sonam, Tandin Wangchuk
Country: Bhutan, Taiwan, France, United States
Language: English, Dzongkha
About the film:
World Premiere, 2023 Telluride Film Festival
Official Selection, 2023 Toronto Film Festival
Shortlisted for Best International Feature at the 96th Academy Awards
An elderly lama, recognizing that extraordinary change is about to sweep through his country, is troubled by the possible outcomes. He instructs his young disciple Tashi to set forth into the kingdom and bring him two guns before the full moon to “set it right.” The young monk is perplexed by his guru’s request, and his familiarity with guns is based solely on images from the only film available on television: James Bond. His quest brings him into contact with a scheming American gun collector Ron, leading to a most unexpected outcome.
“A droll, shrewdly satirical fable, in which Western values crash against a seemingly intransigent (but potentially more enlightened) South Asian culture.”
—Peter Debruge, Variety
Known throughout the world for its extraordinary beauty and its emphasis on Gross National Happiness, the remote Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan was the last nation to connect to the internet and television. And if that weren’t enough change, the King announced shortly afterwards that he would cede his power to the people via their vote and a new form of government. The Monk And The Gun (2023) captures the wonder and disruption as Bhutan becomes one of the world’s youngest democracies.
About the filmmaker:
Pawo Choyning Dorji is a Bhutanese writer, filmmaker, and photographer born in Darjeeling, India. His directorial debut, Luana: A Yak in the Classroom (2019) was nominated for Best International Film Feature at the 94th Academy Awards, and his second feature The Monk and the Gun (2023) made the shortlist in 2024. As a photographer, he has contributed to publications like “VICE”, “Esquire”, and “Life”, and has authored a trio of photography essay books. His first foray into filmmaking came when he worked as a director’s assistant for Buddhist Master and filmmaker Khyentse Norbu’s 2013 feature Vara: A Blessing, then as a producer on Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait.See our upcoming films