People certainly don't think of Bhutan when they think of the Academy Awards race. But the first feature-length production ever made in that small Asian country has been entered in the running for best foreign-language film, and it's as worthy as any contender around.
"The Cup" takes place in an Indian monastery, where exiled Tibetan Buddhists await the hoped-for day when China will relinquish their homeland and allow them to return in freedom. They're a devout group, but that doesn't mean they have no interest in entertainment.
Some of the younger folks have developed a taste for soccer, and the World Cup match is coming soon. They'd give anything if they could watch it on TV - only first they'd have to get a TV, and figure out how it works, and convince the elder monks it's good clean fun. Can they accomplish all this in the days before the big event? They're determined to try, and the suspense is building.
Directed by Khyentse Norbu in his filmmaking debut, "The Cup" tells this lighthearted tale through smart performances, eye-catching images, and unfailing good humor. It's coming to American theaters this week, and its bid for an Oscar nomination may help it reach more screens. Anyone who likes high-spirited storytelling should try to see it.
*'The Cup' is rated G.
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