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The Monk and the Gun film image; monk with a gun

This delightful Bhutanese comedy keeps you guessing about just why a venerable Buddhist monk sends a disciple out into the world to bring him back a gun. As fortune and farce dictate, this mission coincides with the arrival of an American smuggler intent on clinching a deal for an antique rifle, not to mention civic rehearsals for what will be Bhutan’s first ever democratic elections (the film is set in 2006, just ten years after western media — TV and the internet — had been allowed to infiltrate this deeply conservative society).

From the director of Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, the first Bhutanese film to be nominated for an Academy Award, The Monk and the Gun is a gentle, joyful movie offering shrewd and surprising reflections from a culture far-removed from our own. Reminiscent of the freewheeling ensemble comedies of Robert Altman and the proudly parochial satires produced by Ealing Studios in post-war Britain, the film takes aim at American gun culture and western values in general. It’s beautifully measured, nicely played, and lovely to look at.

A droll, shrewdly satirical fable, in which Western values crash against a seemingly intransigent (but potentially more enlightened) South Asian culture.

Peter Debruge, Variety

Crowd-pleasing… relaxed, yet perceptive… a freewheeling convergence of modernity and tradition, the urban and the rural.

Robert Daniels, Screen International

A smart, witty, and insightful piece of international cinema that works immensely well for a western audience. There’s so much light and heart and hope that you can’t help but find yourself with a smile on your face throughout.

Jared Mobarek, Hey, Have You Seen…?


Pawo Choyning Dorji


Tandin Wangchuk, Deki Lhamo, Pema Zangmo Sherpa, Tandin Sonam, Harry Einhorn

Country of Origin





In Dzongkha and English with English subtitles


VIFF 2023 Audience Award Winner (Showcase)

107 min
DANGPHU DINGPHU: a 3 Pig Production

Book Tickets

Sunday April 21

6:30 pm
Hearing Assistance Subtitles
VIFF Centre - Lochmaddy Studio Theatre
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Pawo Choyning Dorji


Jigmé T. Tenzing


Hsiao-Yun Ku

Original Music

Frédéric Alvarez

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