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Review: Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache (2019)

Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache Review


“Modern man – Chasing dakinis.”

Tenzin is a young Tibetan enterpreneur divided between the modern dream of success and the preservation of the traditional world. Trauma, paranoia, the spiritual advice of an eccentric Buddhist monk and a persisting skepticism will throw Tenzin life into a disarray. With the prediction of death within a week, Tenzin must locate an elusive lady with fangs and a moustache, a dakini, who holds his life in her hands.

Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache marked its presence at the Morelia International Film Festival (FICM), will be screening in virtual cinemas on April 9th and will surely attract and satisfy fans of director and writer Khyentse Norbu (The Cup, Travellers And Magicians, Vara A Blessing). The new movie of Norbu follows some of the patterns of his previous success, making use of the director’s subtle and profound understanding of Buddhist philosophy and making the most of less explored locations and natural scenery. Exclusively shot in Nepal, one of the responsible for the beautiful images and peaceful environment of the film was award-winning cinematographer Ping Bin Lee (In the Mood For Love, The Assassin). Interestingly, the film marked the debut of all the actors, which all things considered, for their first time on screen, was not at all a bad career launching pad for them.

“If everyone believed they only had seven days to live, the world would be peaceful.”

I’ve never been in Katmandu, however after watching Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache it feels like part of me has already navigated through parts of the city. Indeed, one of the strongest points of this film is the visual and musical environment that accompany Tenzin in his journey. And it’s a journey full of cultural riches, contrast of old and new, traditional and modern, and despite the prediction of Tenzin imminent death, this is a feel good film, with a simple but important message. I think the spirit of the film is best captured in a particular scene where Tenzin and his mother play the traditional Tibetan song art with the mountains as a background.

In narrative terms, the film would gain more with a shorter runtime, even though we would lost some cinematographic moments. Regarding the characters, is palpable some inexperience of the actors and the film also lacks a deeper understanding of their identities. Tenzin’s struggle is relatable, but his persona could have had more substance; Kunsel sub-plot is the most interesting one, but unfortunately comes as very superficial; and in the end, the most impressive and charismatic character is the the eccentric, Hollywood-like monk that is firstly viewed as a conman (maybe due to our skepticism), but in reality has a peculiar mastery of Buddhism.

Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache is like a visual mediation through the streets of Katmandu that, in the end, expects the public to be a little less slaves to reason and modernism, getting rid of self-centered fixations and preoccupations. And you, have you already found your dakini?

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Title: Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache

Original Title: Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache

Director: Khyentse Norbu

Cast: Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche, Tsering Tashi Gyalthang, Tulku Kungzang, Tenzin Kunsel, Ngawang Tenzin

Runtime: 113 min.

Trailer | Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache