Film: Happiness (2013)

April 26, 2014 | By


HappinessGOTHAM.inddFilm: Good

Transfer:  n/a  Extras: n/a

Label: n/a

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Released:  n/a

Genre:  Documentary / Hot Docs 2014

Synopsis: An 8 year old boy in a remote mountain village in Bhutan must deal with major changes, including a new life as a monk, and the imminent arrival of electricity and the internet.

Special Features:  n/a




Thomas Balmès’ film begins with 1999 footage of Bhutan’s King Jigme Wangchuck declaring to a cheering populace his reluctant blessing to start rolling out the infrastructure for TV and internet in his rural mountainous nation, but rather than trace the stages in which the modern conveniences are threaded up to a highly remote village on a mountain plateau, Balmès’ rather loose focus becomes 8 year old Peyangki, a stoic boy sent to a small lamasery because his mother can’t afford his schooling.

The real story is Peyangki’s own quiet struggle acclimatizing to the discipline of becoming a monk while his friends at school enjoy play and direct family contact. Peyangki’s mother – a widow and single parent to six – is an amazingly patient and emotionally supportive woman, but perhaps the film’s most striking aspect is the quiet stoicism of the people who accept tough decisions in their hard lives. When TV finally arrives, it’s clear the community is poised for changes unknown, and the Balmès’ closing images are both sad and unsettling.



© 2014 Mark R. Hasan



External References:
IMDB  —  Hot Docs 2014 Listing
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Category: Blu-ray / DVD Film Review

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