Tsering Dhondup, born in Lhasa, Tibet, was 10 when he and his father walked over Himalayan passes to exile in India. Recalling the experience, he says, “In order to take my mind off the dangers that lurked beneath each step of the formidable Himalayan passes, my father told me a story so terrifying and riveting that it haunts me to this day! Mystic Mountain is the story, it is also the rope that held me to life and helped me cross the Himalayas as a child.”
Dhondup now lives in San Jose, CA, where he translates Tibetan Buddhist teachings into English. He wrote and directed Mystic Mountain, a film version of the story his father told him, both because it’s a compelling psychological thriller, and “to help preserve the Tibetan language and enrich Tibetan oral storytelling.” Mystic Mountain was filmed in Nepal, close to the Tibetan border, where the often brooding landscape itself is a powerful presence.
After Kunga, the chief of a remote village is killed by sorcery and his body is stolen, his son, Tsewang, sets out to find the corpse. Everyone suspects Migmar, a sorcerer, who has gained black magic powers through worshipping Yama, the Lord of Death.
Everyone fears Migmar except a young girl, who understands how lonely he is, for she has the same feelings. The nature of the bond between the girl and the sorcerer is one of the core issues that unfolds as the movie progresses. You can watch the trailer here:
Mystic Mountain, produced by Snow Lion Films can be rented on Vimeo.
Additional information on the film and the filmmaker is available also. An 11 minute interview with Tsering Dhondup was broadcast in San Jose in 2015.
Anyone fascinated by the lore, the legends, and landscape of Tibet, as I am will enjoy this intimate glimpse into a land of mystery, legend, stark beauty, and people who live from the heart.
Thanks, Morgan. I will try to check this out. It looks interesting.
It’s not smoothed and polished in areas like pacing that we are used to from Hollywood, but its differences – to say nothing of the absence of digital effects – are part of the charm. It seems like a true glimpse into another culture.