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Khyentse Norbu’s Pig at the Crossing Set for virtual premiere on 11 May

Pig at the Crossing, the newest film by Bhutanese filmmaker Khyentse Norbu (also known as Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche), will premiere virtually on 11 May. The movie is available in two languages: Dzongkha and English, runs for 119 minutes, and is being released by Khyentse Norbu’s Thimphu-based production house Norling Studios.

The homepage of the film proudly notes that Pig at the Crossing was rejected from 30 major film festivals, highlighting an unorthodox premise and unconventional marketing campaign. Khyentse Norbu celebrates his film’s proudly set apart production, plot, and promotion, with the website declaring that it as “crafted in collaboration with a cadre of young Bhutanese filmmakers.” The homepage celebrates the fact that Khyentse Norbu has intentionally pushed the talents of this “ragtag group” of “emerging voices, with many of whom embarked on their maiden cinematic voyage with this endeavor.” (MediaOutReach)

As a virtual premiere, the film will be shown in five screenings across varying time zones.

Perhaps reflective of Khyentse Norbu’s teaching style, which often challenges students with unorthodox thought methods or confronts devotees with uncomfortable scenarios, the film is a daring foray into the “in-between” world of the bardo, which is encountered by the protagonist of Dolom after a less-than-savory set up. The synopsis notes:

DOLOM, 29, a passionate YouTube creator and newly appointed school teacher in Bhutan has a one-night stand with a married woman, DEKI, 32. When she discovers that she’s pregnant, Dolom concocts a plan to cover up the affair and save his reputation. On his way to rendezvous with Deki, Dolom gets into a motorcycle accident and wakes up in a bizarre, and chaotic world.

Slowly he begins to realize that he is in fact dead. With the help of a mysterious guide, Dolom navigates this in-between realm and faces his storied past and the consequences of his actions. As time collapses around him, he must choose to right his wrongs and let go of his attachment to his former self or be trapped to wander in a dream-like in-between state for timelessness.


The imagery of a pig at a crossroads is also a striking motif that will challenge viewers productively with several ideas pertaining to non-duality. The pig, representing desire, is one of the three animals representing the three poisons that fuel samsara.

Khyentse Norbu’s past films include The Cup (1999), Travellers and Magicians (2003), and Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache (2019). In his director’s statement, he said:

I am on a life-long journey to tell stories that explore the full range of human nature, including the darker emotions that pull us into morally questionable situations — the struggle to do what is considered “right”. I’m intrigued by “good and bad” and whether it’s possible for us to see goodness in a character, despite their morally questionable behavior. I wish to create subtle emotional narratives that leave an open question in the hearts of the viewer.

Through the sudden death of the main character, this film will explore the Buddhist idea of “the bardo” (post-death) experience through rich magical realism, creative story-telling, and symbolism. This film will poke holes in our solid belief of a truly existing self and the concepts we cultivate to build the world around us. The experience at the time of death is nothing other than what we experience in every single moment. The film will encourage us to let go at every moment.

Visually, I’m deeply inspired by the work of the great filmmaker Yasujirō Ozu in his use of color and wide-angle, long-shot cinema. Films like Tokyo Story allow the energy and magical elements of a city to come to life while focusing on an in-depth narrative of one person’s struggle. I want to create visuals that give room to breathe in the frame, providing a richer experience of the story. Bhutan is a stunning and vibrant country — endlessly cinematic.

I have also been thinking of ways to promote and nurture art and film in my home country of Bhutan. I have decided to make this film almost entirely utilizing the raw talent and ambitious energy of a group of young creatives in Bhutan who are interested in coming together to build this story with me. We will bring on a few professionals to help mentor the rest of the aspiring filmmakers. It is my hope to plant the seed of the joy of the creative process and confidence into these young artists, to have the chance to accomplish what would otherwise have seemed impossible for them.

(Khyentse Norbu)

As Khyentse Norbu would like to stress: “No pigs were harmed in the making of this movie.”

See more

Internationally Acclaimed Filmmaker Khyentse Norbu’s “Pig at the Crossing” to Premiere Virtually on 11th May 2024 Globally After Festival Rejections (MediaOutReach)

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