HONOLULU ACADEMY OF ARTS
Movies rarely shown outside the country make up the festival.
Films series shows Bhutan
In conjunction with its popular exhibit, "The Dragon's Gift: The Sacred Arts of Bhutan," the Honolulu Academy of Arts will screen eight films made in Bhutan. Only one has ever been shown outside the country.
In a country with only six theaters, no film schools, limited technology and film budget constraints, a handful of professional actors and technicians have had to overcome great challenges to produce these films.
Filmmaker Karma Tshering will introduce the leadoff film, "Druk Ge Geom (The Guest)" at the members-only Friends of Film Friday screening, starting at 7:30 p.m. It's the story of an uncommon romance between a yak herder and a New Yorker separated from his tour group.
Walk-in tickets for the public will be available for $15 on a first-come, first-seated, basis that night. The film repeats at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Doris Duke Theatre's regular admission prices, $7; $6 seniors, students and military; $5 for academy members.
» "Kusha-Thara" (6:30 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. Sunday): A successful textile researcher buys a special wedding gift for his new wife, but bizarre incidences in their household threaten their happiness. He is then forced to reflect on his past and realizes the only way to make amends is to confess and seek forgiveness from a woman he betrayed long ago.
» "Dhangphu" (6:30 p.m. Monday and 1 p.m. Tuesday): In rural Bhutan at the beginning of the 20th century, when wealthy landowners took advantage of landless peasants and made them work as serfs, a grandmother tells her grandson about the joys and sorrows of her life as a farmer's daughter.
» "The Golden Cup" (6:30 p.m. Tuesday): Based on a Bhutanese myth about betrayal and revenge, the titular object is a magical talisman that, if neglected, releases an unimaginable curse. The curse has plagued the women of one particular village family over generations, and now one of them tries to break the evil spell. (The film won screenplay and editing awards at the recent Bhutan National Film Awards ceremony.)
» "The 49th Day" (1 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday): The Bhutanese believe that when someone dies, his soul visits his loved ones before reincarnation. This interim period in Buddhism is called "Bardo," and lasts up to the 49th day after death. Exploring this belief, this film focuses on the unrequited love between a wealthy young man and a country girl. When the girl becomes pregnant by the man, she reluctantly marries another man, leaves the village, and gives birth to a daughter. Seven years later, an accidental reunion with the father sets a tragedy into motion. (This was voted best picture of 2006 at the Bhutan National Film Awards.)
» "Chortan Kora" (1 and 6:30 p.m. March 27): Based on a legend about a young Indian princess who make a heartbreaking sacrifice In order to subdue all forms of evil and bring peace and harmony to Bhutan.
» "Norbu, My Beloved Yak" (1 p.m. March 28 and 29): A fascinating look at the lives of nomadic yak herders. When a yak dies while giving birth, a herder raises her calf, to repay the mother yak for her milk, which he drank as a baby. When he is later expected to slaughter the grown yak, he must confront the values of an ancient culture.
» "Euchung Lhamo" (6:30 p.m. March 29 and 1 p.m. March 30): Winner of art direction and story awards at the Bhutan National Film Awards, this film takes its story from the country's lawless dark ages. A girl falls in love with a young man who is adored by the other village girls for his musical and poetic talent. Despite her parents' disapproval over his meager income, she marries him and they raise a son. But will her love be strong enough to thwart the advances of a bullying government official who threatens to enslave her parents if she doesn't submit to him?
» "Jigthar: The Escape" (6:30 p.m. March 30): When a soldier abandons the Bhutanese army, his mother gives him an ancient manuscript that describes his ancestors' perilous escape after they murder a brutal chieftain.