Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

audience Reviews

, 78% Audience Score
  • Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
    beautiful-- pretty predictable, but absolutely beautiful
  • Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
    Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom is a heart-warming, feel-good movie that will leave you feeling inspired. It follows the story of a teacher (Ugyen Dorji played by Sherab Dorji) who is under contract with the government of Bhutan to complete mandatory service. He has almost completed his teacher education but because his attitude is considered inappropriate, his supervisor sends him to the most remote school in the world, Lunana. Getting to Lunana is a challenge due to its remoteness. And the conditions in Lunana are harsh, with little to no modern amenities or resources. It is in the Himalayas, and during winter, the temperatures drop to below zero and the only way to get there is by yak and walking. The film follows the struggles that Ugyen Dorji faces as he tries to instruct the children in Lunana, many of whom have never been to school before and never been outside their village. Ugyen's transition from a modern life in a city to a simple life in Lunana is not an easy one, and the film does an excellent job of portraying the struggles that he faces. It is through these struggles that Ugyen begins to appreciate the simplicity of life in Lunana and the importance of his work as a teacher. The film is slowly paced, but this only serves to highlight the contrast between the fast-paced modern world and the simplicity of life in Lunana. This may present a challenge to those who are not used to slowing down and taking the time to appreciate the little things in life, but it is ultimately a rewarding experience. The film is beautifully filmed on location in Lunana and the local actors do an excellent job of portraying the characters and the culture. The children are a joy to watch and their interactions with Ugyen are often hilarious. Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom does have its flaws (e.g., the slow pace, the lack of action) so I can't say it's a great movie. But it's a good movie for the whole family, and one that I would recommend to anyone who is looking for something different.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Loved every bit of it. So so much of it reminded me of the time I spent trekking in Nepal - lovely genuine people living in hardship, beautiful scenery.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    I wanted to like the Bhutan Yak movie and it did have a certain level of simplicity and even a touch of primitive nobility. But, given the 100% critics' rating and an Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film, I was quite disappointed. The director largely failed to use locations and showed little ability to use or develop the limited abilities of his cast. Even the yak in the title was hardly worth the effort to seek out this obscure film. A couple of far better films in this genre: "The Road Home" (China) and "The Weeping Camel" (Mongolia).
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    This feel like a Movie of the Week, not a Oscar Nominee for Best International Feature Film, but, overall it's fine. The Dzongkha language feature has gorgeous scenery and feels authentic, but it's all too familiar. The paint by numbers approach doesn't kill the vibe of the movie, but the pacing is remarkable slow. Worth watching, but missable. Final Score: 6/10
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    "Luana: A Yak in the Classroom" was filmed in a remote and isolated village in Bhutan, and most of the cast are real villagers. This one is a labor of love - poetic and truly one-of-a-kind.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    You dont want to miss this one for sure!
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    The dark horse that beats out competition from previous Oscar and Cannes winners for a nomination for Best International Features at this year's Oscars, is Pawo Choyning Dorji's 2019 directorial debut, and for those who actually manages to catch this little film from Bhutan, you'll find a simple yet elegant film, particularly considering the challenging conditions it's made in. Sherab Dorji's Ugyen is a young man living in the capital city, Thimphu, who aspires to be a singer in Australia. Meanwhile, he has one year left in his government contract as a teacher, so he's posted to Lunana, a remote village school in the highlands, for his penance. Anyone who remembers films like Doc Hollywood will know what happens next, as the kind and respectful village folks melt away his initial reluctance and resistance. Likewise, this film does the same to my initial perception that this is predictable sentimental fare with set-ups so obvious you can spot a mile away. Using mostly local highlanders as cast, the acting is uneven but authentic, however, Sherab's Ugyen has enough likeability to more than make up for it. Shooting on location, and doubling as a promotional film for the Bhutanese tourist board, Pawo's camera makes the majestic landscape that surrounds them an integral part of the film, adding both beauty and depth to a portrait of a country divided by an inter-generational chasm, pitting tradition against modern technology; a simple life off the land or betterment via migration to the Western world. If the narrative beats of a fish-out-of-water storyline go pretty much as expected, its handling is controlled and never over-sentimental; while a moving yet beautifully poignant ending poetically confronts some harsh truth without contriving the happy ending we expected/wanted, making this conventional film much less conventional if one looks closer.
  • Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
    Nominated for an Oscar this year for best foreign film... this tale is about an aspiring singer who is sent to a small town in the middle of nowhere to teach young children... at first he doesn't want to be there but soon he grows to like the place and the people... which is a fairly familiar sort of story but the area and the residents are interesting and it's a nice slice of life story about a different culture. Still, nothing all that new or ground breaking here.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    The cinematography and the story were excellent. I enjoyed it tremendously and highly recommend it.