There is actually a Yak in the classroom in the film, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom” a Bhutanese film shortlisted for the Oscar. Only very few countries made it to the short list for 2022. Bhutan is one among such countries as its film industry is in its nascent stage.
Directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, the film follows Ugyen (Sherab Dorji), who is struggling with his chosen profession of teaching. But he is disappointed to learn that for his final year of training, he’ll be sent to teach in Lunana – the nation’s most remote school and a staggering seven-day walk from the nearest drop-off point. The high altitude and lack of amenities finds Ugyen wanting to leave almost as soon as he arrives, but the local children welcome him and try to win him over. He must decide whether to stay or go before the punishing winter reaches this glacial part of the Himalayas. He stays back.
The video grabs of the film show daily life of the main actor, his surroundings in nature and the rickety room he has been fondly provided by the villagers to stay in.
One day out of sheer curiosity, Ugyen asks a local just why the yak is in the classroom. “We start our fires with yak dung,” he was told!
An Audience Award winner at the 2020 Palm Springs International Film Festival, Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom was a serious long shot even to get the Movie Academy’s attention. It was submitted for consideration for last year’s Academy Award for International Feature but was not accepted because Bhutan hadn’t submitted a film since its lone entry in 1999 and didn’t have an officially recognized committee! Better late than never, the government got involved and formed the National Film Commission of Bhutan, which the Academy recognized last year and accepted as an entry for the 94th Oscars.
The video grabs of the film show daily life of the main actor, his surroundings in nature and the rickety room he has been fondly provided by the villagers to stay in. The cinema of Bhutan is a small but emerging industry, having started in the mid-1990s. It has since been supported by government officials and different businesses. Bhutan’s film industry was highly influenced by Bollywood once. Storytelling based on Buddhist oral history and supernatural beliefs are increasingly influencing Bhutanese cinematic structure.
Source: Himalayan News Chronicle