Sundance Film Review: Happiness

Posted January 24, 2014 in
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Photo courtesy of: TBC Productions

Happiness
Sundance Film Festival
Director: Thomas Balmès

More than a decade ago, King Jigme Wangchuck approved the utilization of television and Internet in the Kingdom of Bhutan. With the modernization process coming to an end, the small village of Layla is the last to be updated. Inside this rural region is 8-year-old Peyangki whose single mother has decided to send him to a monastery to become a monk. Director Thomas Balmès follows Peyangki’s admittance into a new and strict lifestyle while still clinging to his playful ways. Along with the childish escapades, Balmès tails Peyangki’s uncle, Kinley, as he travels to the city to sell a yak in order to purchase a television. You can imagine his wife’s reaction when he returns with a broken unit after it fell off the horse on the way home. Balmès beautifully captures a crossroads in this Asian country as older citizens cling on to traditional ways of life while the next generation look forward to the future. The most impactful moments come from Peyangki’s first trip to the “big city” of Thimphu as he encounters candy, television, and traffic for the first time in his life. The look on his face is priceless. Balmès transports audiences to a land they’d most likely never visit or know anything about, but makes the connection with the fascination of technology and the possibilities to come.

– Jimmy Martin

Screening Times:
Friday, Jan. 24 — 6:00 p.m. • Holiday Village Cinema 2, Park City
Saturday, Jan. 25 — 9:00 a.m. • Holiday Village Cinema 2, Park City

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