LOOKING FOR A LADY WITH FANGS AND A MOUSTACHE
(director/writer: Khyentse Norbu; screenwriter: ; cinematographer: Mark Lee Ping-Bing; editor: Yu Tao; music: Mars Radio/Rachel Fox; cast: Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche (Master Of Left Hand Lineage), Tsering Tashi Gyalthang (Tenzin), Tulku Kungzang (Jachung), Ngawang Tenzin (Monk), Tenzin Kunsel (Kunsel); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Max Dipesh Khatri, Rabindra Singh Baniya; Shatkon Arts production; 2019-Nepal/Mexico/Singapore-in Tibetan and Nepali, with subtitles)
“I loved the dreamy film for not watering things down and letting the viewer identify with the protagonist trying to save his life the old-fashioned Buddhist way.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Bhutan-born filmmaker Khyentse Norbu(“Travellers and Magicians”/”The Cup”) is a Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader now living in Nepal, who has made five films. His recent quirky modern day mystical film entertains Buddhist ideas that still surprisingly resonate.
A ponytailed entrepreneur from Kathmandu, Nepal, Tenzin (Tsering Tashi Gyalthang), hoping to open a classy new cafe, searches the streets of the city to find his dream place. When locating an abandoned temple, he searches it despite his friend Jachung (Tulku Kungzang) warning him not to upset the resting place of a goddess. It results in him receiving worrisome visions, during his visit to the temple.
His worried friend gets the downcast Tenzin to meet with a respected monk (Ngawang Tenzin), who tells him he’s been cursed and will die in a week. Tenzin seeks a second opinion from an elderly Buddhist master (Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche), who tells him he can beat the curse if he finds a dakini (a Buddhist spiritual goddess) and she grants him favor. Because he believes in these Buddhist lessons and doesn’t want to die, he rides his motorcycle around the city searching for his so-called lady with fangs and moustache.
As the story moves along, the meaning of it for those in today’s world, without much explaining, comes clearer that it‘s about paying attention. Paying attention to your life experiences seems to be the point of this curious film on Tibetan lore. It’s a unique film for westerners, whereby Tibetan mysticism is spun around a familiar Tibetan tale about how the modern man is too distracted by too many discursive thoughts so that he sometimes can’t clearly see what he should. In Tenzin’s pursuit of materialism, his spiritual life is left hanging in a void.
I loved the dreamy film for not watering things down and letting the viewer identify with the protagonist trying to save his life the old-fashioned Buddhist way. But the plot needlessly gets too complicated with romantic comical subplots that deaden the main story. Otherwise it’s delightfully refreshing.
In the background it offers a soundtrack of traditional Tibetan music, a haunting Tomas Mendez’s Mexican standard “Cucurrucucú Paloma” and even a Tom Waits number (the music was a trip!). While the visuals of Nepal’s exotic landscapes were a feast to the eyes,
REVIEWED ON 5/1/2021 GRADE: A-