peteg's blog - noise - movies - 2024 03 28 TheMonkAndTheGun

The Monk and the Gun (2023)

/noise/movies | Link

A gentle and mildly comedic critique of modernity from Bhutan. The country's claims to fame are that it is the happiest in Asia (or the world, or wherever, depending) and that it underwent a (unique?) bloodless transition to parliamentary democracy in 2008 at the instigation of the King. The rural people are mostly happy with the existing arrangements but the monk of the title knows that change is inevitable. The bureaucrats and their hirelings are just cogs in the machine.

The cinematography makes a lot of the landscapes in that way of tourist commercials. (Did it make me want to go to Bhutan? No, too hilly.) This style of storytelling put me in mind of Hal Hartley: a touch rueful and so out of step with these increasingly brutal times. Then again the whole thing is a bit of a backhander to the USA: you can keep your revolutions, violence and democracy but we're always open to more phallic stuff.

Manohla Dargis also picked up on the pokes at the West.