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Not many film-makers can say they're the reincarnation of a 19th-century Buddhist saint. But then not many film-makers are practising Tibetan lamas. In fact, writer/director/monk Khyentse Norbu is about the only Tibetan film-maker, and The Cup has gone down in history as the first feature made in the Bhutanese language.
But don't expect The Cup to be just a load of religious symbolism and philosophical musings. The Cup of the title is the 1998 Word Cup, and the story (inspired by real events) is a comedy about a group of young monks who are more concerned at catching the semi-finals than studying scriptures.
References are made to the Chinese occupation and the harsh reality of exile from Tibet is ever present, but this only heightens the warmth and humour. Despite their situation, these boys are still passionate about something as simple as "two civilised nations fighting over a ball," as the monastery's chief disciplinarian puts it.
The Cup is a thoroughly enjoyable, whimsical tale, and you don't need to be Buddhist or a footy fanatic to appreciate it.
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