March 18 – 29
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Country: FRANCE, FINLAND, BHUTAN
Run Time: 120 minutes
In 1999 the King of Bhutan reluctantly approved the use of television and the internet throughout the largely undeveloped nation, not convinced that modernization would contribute to the “gross national happiness” of his country. Now Laya, the last remote mountain village without electricity, eagerly awaits connection. Its residents lead hard lives as barley harvesters and yak herders, and Peyangki , an eight-year-old boy who loves to turn cartwheels, is sent by his mother to become a monk. Unconvinced that “happiness comes from transcendental wisdom,” Peyangki jumps at the chance to accompany his uncle on a three-day walk to town. There they will sell a yak to buy a TV, so they can be ready when the electricity arrives. The boy is mesmerized by everything around him in Thinphu city—especially Wrestlemania on TV. A heartfelt portrayal of what its director calls the “invasive force” of electronic media on traditional values, HAPPINESS deservedly won a cinematography award at Sundance. Note: Recommended for pre-teens and older. (In Bhutanese with subtitles) —B.B.
Thomas Balmès, Juliette Guigon, Patrick Winocour, Kaarle Aho
Thomas Balmès, Nina Bernfeld
Alex Cardon, Ronan Sinquin
Thomas Balmès has specialized in international co-productions since 1992. He has directed films in Bosnia, Papua, China, Mongolia, Namibia, Japan, and San Francisco. He regularly lectures in France and abroad.
"Bosnia Hotel" (1996), '"Maharadja Burger" (1997), "The Gospel According to the Papuans" (1999), "Waiting for Jesus" (2000), "Christ Comes to the Papuans" (2001), "A Decent Factory" (2004), "Damages" (2005), "Babies" (2010), HAPPINESS (2013)
The Finnish Film Foundation
This film is presented with the generous support of NANCE HIKES and MICHAEL MELAMPY.