Despite a population of less than one million, Bhutan has a thriving film industry so we’re told. It tends to make its films following the Bollywood model rather than anything Hollywood or thereabouts. However, with this love story, they’re trying to change that.
This is the first Bhutanese film to feature a Western actor and that actor is Emrhys Cooper (Vanity). He stars as Charlie, a photographer sent to Bhutan to document the country and the women who weave on the mountains.
The film is set in the Himalayas, parts of which are usually inaccessible to foreigners, and this brings us to the first issue. As a photojournalist, Charlie carries remarkably little equipment, particularly if you consider he’s the first photographer allowed in the region.
Anyway, I’m sure this doesn’t matter as what the story is really about is the love affair Charlie has with Chokimo, played by Kezang Wangmo (Travelers and Magicians). This is despite Chokimo being married to Bumpala, played by Bumpa Dorji, who is letting Charlie stay in his house. So, way to go, nice way to introduce the West!
The film also stars Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuck, who starred alongside Brad Pitt as the young Dalai Lama in “Seven Years in Tibet.”
There are more than a few hints of Bollywood contained within the movie though, plenty of singing, a weird dancing scene which looks like Cooper is auditioning for Take That or something. What’s going on with his accent too? Cooper is British but it almost sounds like he’s been dubbed to American. Very odd.
It takes a few second for us to know that these two love birds are just that, and yet it takes an age for anything to happen, apart from the singing and photographs.
In essence, this isn’t for me (I was asked to review it in case you’re wondering). If you like slow, Bollywood-esq love stories, this will be right up your street, I must have taken a wrong turn.