LUNANA: A YAK IN THE CLASSROOM
SELECTED: BERLINALE 2019
WINNER: AUDIENCE AWARD, PALM SPREINGS INTERNNTIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
Shot with solar powered batteries in the Himalayan village of Lunana (population 56), this glorious directorial debut takes place in one of the most secluded and undeveloped areas of the entire world.
Twenty-something Ugyen is an aspiring singer living with his grandmother in Bhutan’s capital. He dreams of moving to Australia but first he must finish his final year with the government’s teaching service. Slacking on his duties, he is punished by being assigned to “the world’s most remote school”. After an eight-day trek, Ugyen reaches the high-altitude village with more yak dung than people, few amenities, and a bunch of eager-to-learn kids who’ve never seen a car. It’s a shock for a city slicker and he’s determined to leave as soon as he can, despite the local community’s warm welcome. But as the seasons shift, and winter approaches, he slowly succumbs to the charm of his students, the community and its traditions. Both poignant and beautiful, this charming film gently explores the concept of happiness while also providing a surprising amount of knowledge about the world of yaks.