This art-house movie is a good example of a mix between the interest in the magical aspects of Buddhism and the dissolute nature of the jungle (in contrast to and as a reflection of the contemporary world). There have been many influences cited here, from Satyajit Ray and Hiroshi Teshigahara, to Apichatpong Weerasethakul. The last name in particular is definitely a good reference, though Khyentse Norbu lacks the particularly tender, yet realistic way in which the Thai director understands the jungle.
Less intense than Travelers and Magicians, Hema Hema is still compelling and convincing through its clean cuts and beautiful setting.
Here’s what Robert Koehler (Cinema Scope Online) has to say about this movie.
“The movie, in fact, is a kind of puzzle palace. Although the milieu creates anonymity (“anonymity,” the guru says, “is power”) and therefore collectivity, the movie trains its gaze on an individual (Tshering Dorji) whom we see before he dons his mask. Even more perversely, he’s the tale’s ostensible hero until he commits such an unexpectedly heinous act that loyalties are ripped to shreds. While Hema Hema appears on the surface to be a morality play, it actually undermines this at several steps, right up to the end in a techno dance club. Norbu, who has written that when we watch a movie “something in our hearts is telling us that we know it’s not real, that it’s not a big deal,” has made a movie designed to do nothing but provoke questions. It’s an interesting gambit for an international man of cinema, and nirvana.”
723MB | 1 h 35 min | 720×308 | mkv