Travellers and Magicians

Rated 4.0

A minor official in a remote village in Bhutan (near the eastern tip of India, north of Bangladesh) sets off for the capital, Thimphu (and eventually, he hopes, for America). On the road, he is joined by several others, one of whom, a cheerful Buddhist monk, regales the group with a story of a young man lost in the woods and sheltered by an old woodcutter and his young wife. Director Khyentse Norbu’s script is a sort of pocket Canterbury Tales and takes its moral, oddly enough, from Bob Dylan’s “The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest” (“one should never be where one does not belong”). Norbu hops briskly from one tale to the other, with simple, charming performances and Alan Kozlowski’s beautiful cinematography enhancing a story that feels at once modern and as old as a beloved fairy tale.