Fascinating Insight from Director Khyentse Norbu into Looking For A Lady With Fangs And A Moustache

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Director Khyentse Norbu: Looking For A Lady With Fangs And A Moustache

Noted and award-winning director Khyentse Norbu, whose past films (The Cup, Travellers And Magicians, Vara A Blessing) have played at Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, Venice and other top global film festivals has a new film releasing on April 9th. Titled Looking For A Lady With Fangs And A Moustache, the mystery/drama, is set in the bustling maze of life in present-day Kathmandu. Told through the eyes and experiences of a worldly, young, Tibetan man, Tenzin, who is caught between the modern and traditional worlds. Somewhat driven and obsessive, Tenzin is focused single-mindedly on creating Kathmandu’s best coffee shop. Though he disparages superstition, Tenzin is suddenly tormented by peculiar and recurring dreams and images that signal his imminent death. On the advice of a monk and then a great sage a sceptical Tenzin must seek out a very special woman – a “Dakini” who may have a moustache, fangs and a third eye. What happens from there… well you will have to find out when you watch the film.

To set the feeling, and scene here is the trailer:

We were very honored to be able to do a short email interview with the writer/director Khyentse Norbu. With fascinating answers, the director gives insight into Tenzin’s journey, what he felt was important to showcase in the film and what he hopes audiences see as they watch Looking For A Lady with Fangs and A Moustache.

One of the most brilliant and engaging things is that while you are watching the film you experience a story rooted in the traditions of Nepal but told in a modern time. Mr. Norbu explained, “The entire world is rapidly changing, and this is true also in Nepal but especially in Kathmandu. Nevertheless, Nepal is a very resilient society. So many ancient traditions, customs and way of life are still very much alive today. The people of Nepal try to adapt to modern times while balancing these beliefs and customs, I am merely showing Nepal as it exists in this moment.”

Adding, “Shooting in Kathmandu was a conscious decision as soon as I began conceptualizing the film. From the beginning, I thought of Kathmandu as the main character of the film. Being in Panauti and Kathmandu added to the spirit and richness to the ambiance of the film. For me, and for the story, the characters are almost secondary.”

Coming to the main character, besides Nepal, Tenzin has quite a journey through the film from modern man, to searching for the Dakini to finding his answer. The director responded in a beautiful and inspirational reply, “Tenzin’s journey is to go through the fear and paranoia of imminent death and finally to come to the realization that to live even for a moment is such a precious thing.”

There is also a cool monk character, who consults an iPad, that was also a very integral part of the story and Tenzin journey. So what was he trying to say with that character? “The monk, just like Tenzin, is also going through a journey of awakening. However, he uses Tenzin as a catalyst to find the answers to some of his burning questions and exploration. The iPad really is just to symbolize the modernization of Buddhism,” he answered.

Mr. Norbu also wrote about the choice of the incredible music that was both a mix of the classical, the traditional and then more modern songs: “Most of the music was what I imagined that the character Tenzin would listen to. The rest of the music was inspired to capture the atmosphere and spirit of Kathmandu’s rivers, temples, and spirituality.”

A director once told me that a film is made in the editing process, so would you say that to be true for this film? His reply: “I do think that editing is absolutely important in the filmmaking process. However, in this case, I must acknowledge my Director of Photography [Mark Lee Ping-Bing] who’s incredible skill and experience greatly benefited us even in the editing process.”

One of the purposes, he said, was to expose audiences to different types of cinema, “I think that it would be good for people to sometimes watch and even appreciate stories that are outside of the stereotypes which we tend to expect from dramatic films.”

In closing, Mr. Norbu revealed what he felt was imperative and meaningful to show to audiences with Looking For A Lady With Fangs And A Moustache, “The most important element of this film is to showcase the deeply rooted beliefs and spiritual practices that are still alive today despite modernization’s threat of extinguishing it.”

Looking for A Lady with Fangs and A Moustache will have a virtual live premiere screening on April 8th hosted by The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City followed by a live conversation with director Khyentse Norbu and Dr. Richard J. Davidson. The Global Watch Now @ Home Cinema Release will be the following day on April 9, concurrent with some traditional in-theatre engagements in Asia as circumstances allow. To find out more about screenings and release go to lookingforalady.com

This is an amazing film that we feel you must experience but more on that in our review on Looking for A Lady with Fangs and A Moustache coming up very soon!

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