121 - The Cup (1999)

The Cup is a Bhutan comedy about Indian monks who wish to watch the 1998 World Cup Final.

Set during the 1998 World Cup finals, two young men leave Tibet to join a North Indian monastery run by a Lama who dreams of one day leaving to go back to his native Tibet.

Orgyen, one of the youngest monks is football crazy and frequently gets into trouble by leaving the monastery late at night to watch various games in the World Cup. However, once he pushes the boundaries once too far he seemingly jeopardises his chances of being able to watch the final between France and Brazil.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Movie Goods
The saying good things come to those who wait is perfectly applicable for a country that to date has only released 15 films - the first of which was this innocent tale of Bhutanese joy.

The Cup (original title - Phörpa) was able to be shot within a village compound and the countryside surrounding it - and it is a great testament to Khyentse Norbu that this doesn't at all hamper the professionalism of the photography. The scenery throughout - including those bits filmed at night - is thoroughly impressive.

Of course, as a film that is basically just about a group of monks there is an element of innocence about The Cup. It does not contain any of the factors that makes Hollywood a reality. There is no violence and no romance outside of the monk's love for the World Cup. Again, it is this simplicity that makes the film very accessible.

There is a lot to learn from this film. Hollywood can see how to create a decent film that has very little happening, and we can all learn how to humbly live our lives by following the example of the mischievous Orgyen.