Cup, The
Entertainment: +2
Acceptability: +2 1/2

During the Chinese invasion of Tibet, many Buddhist leaders were exiled to neighboring countries. Now, in a Buddhist monastery in Bhutan across the border from Tibet, a group of exiled young men train as Buddhist monks. They participate in traditional Buddhist rituals, prayers and work duties, but are also exposed to modern day distractions such as popular magazines and TV in nearby villages. One of the lively 14-year-old monks, Orgyen (Jamyang Lodro), is obsessed with soccer and regularly sneaks into a village pub to watch soccer teams on TV. Coming back from the village one night after viewing a soccer game, he and some of his young monk friends get caught by a monastery leader, Geko (Orgyen Tobgyal). Their discipline means they will not get to see the World Cup soccer contest coming up soon. Orgyen boldly asks the monastery leadership if they can obtain a TV and watch the contest in the monastery. To everyones surprise the request is granted and the fun begins as they try to set up a satellite dish and an old TV. Written and directed by a prominent Buddhist monk, Khyentse Norbu, the story is a real delight. The dialogue is subtitled in English, but they dont distract significantly from this unique, engaging comedy.

Based on real events and portrayed by real Buddhist monks, the story has universal appeal. A major theme of the story is maintaining traditional religious values and practices while dealing with intrusions from modern society. There appears to be no intent to encourage or glorify Buddhism, although the Buddhist monks are portrayed as kind and caring. Also, the leaders deal with the boys love of soccer in a sympathetic way. And the way the Buddhists deal with TV allows viewing if the subject matter is not degrading. Interestingly, in one scene where a Buddhist monk is teaching the boys, he expresses thoughts similar to those in the Bible such as loving others as one loves oneself and persons being content in difficult situations. Surprisingly, in this G rated film, one form of the s-word is spoken as well as one mild crudity. At the same time, no sexual conduct, nudity or significant violence is included, although some women are shown briefly in suggestive poses in magazines and movements on TV. Further, in a very touching subplot, Orgyen shows concern for a young monk who loses a prized possession. Overall, THE CUP has some uplifting, commendable elements and only minor offensive ones.

Preview Reviewer: John Evans
Distributor: Fine Line Features, 888 Seventh Ave., 20th Floor, NY, NY 10106

Crude Language: Once - Mild
Obscene Language: Once (form of s-word)
Profanity: None
Violence: Once - Moderate (boys get into hand fight)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times - Moderate (brief scenes of women in suggestive poses in magazines and movements on TV)
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Buddhists portrayed as caring, young monks clown around during rituals, theme of traditional religion dealing with modern influences, Buddhists teachings presented, Buddhism portrayed neutrally
Running Time: 93 minutes
Intended Audience: Early teens and older

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