Produced: 2019, Bhutan and China
A feel-good movie about twentysomething trainee teacher Ugyen, who is posted to the Himalayan highlands of Bhutan to teach a group of nine children in the remote village of Lunana. Ugyen dreams of leaving Bhutan and pursue a career as a singer and songwriter in Australia but, because of his lack of motivation and poor performance as a teacher, is sent to the most remote school in Bhutan in small village with a population yak herders, requiring a week-long trek.
The spectacular landscape, the archaic way of life in a place without any mod cons,where even paper and a blackboard are scarce commodities, make Lunana an exotic locale par excellence. For Ugyen the encounter with a way of life very different from what he is used to in Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, is transformative. He learns to appreciate the different value system of the villagers, who embrace the country’s philosophy, introduced some 50 years ago but Bhutan’s then king, that ‘Gross National Happiness’ counts for more than Bhutan’s gross national product.
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom was Bhutan’s first ever Oscar nomination.