The Monk and the Gun (2023) Movie Script

-[crickets chirping]
-[birds singing]
[wind blowing]
[tranquil music playing]
[music fades]
When it comes to the Mock Elections,
we will have three fictional parties.
Blue, which represents freedom
and equality.
Red represents industrial development.
And yellow represents preservation.
You can cast your vote for any of these.
[tranquil music playing]
[music fades]
[latches clicking]
[radio clicks]
[tuning stations]
[man on radio] His Majesty, the king,
announced he will abdicate
so that we can become a "democracy."
People can now choose a new leader
through a process called "elections."
But our country has never
had elections before.
In four days,
the government will hold a "Mock Election"
so that everyone can understand
this process.
To explain, here is the Head of the Bhutan
Election Commission, Tshering Yangden.
[woman on radio] Thank you.
This is a historical moment.
Our election officials are all over
the country.
I will be going to the village of Ura
to serve the country
to the best of my abilities.
I hope citizens will come together
for this monumental process.
-[pensive music playing]
-[upbeat music playing on radio]
[old man] Tashi, I need guns.
-[radio turns off]
-Can you get me guns?
I don't know, Lama.
I have never even seen one before.
I need two guns.
I need them by Full Moon.
Things need to be made right again.
It's so sad.
What is, Lama?
Our country, it's changing.
[music fades]
["Money for Nothing" playing on stereo]
Now look at them yo-yo's
That's the way you do it
You play the guitar on the MTV
That ain't workin'
That's the way you do it
Money for nothin'...
[song continues muffled]
The dialysis machine is free today,
can you take me?
Did you hear me?
I don't think I have time,
I need to be away for a few days.
Can you manage on your own?
Breakfast? I was going to make something.
If I eat, I'll be late,
I really need to go.
Take your medicines on time.
[door opens, then closes]
[birds singing]
-[boy 1] Ap Dorji brought a new TV!
-[children clamoring]
[boy 2] The biggest one in our village.
Last time he paraded that yak leg around
just to announce
he was eating yak that night.
Dorji! Congratulations!
Thank you!
Everyone knows
he sold his two cows to buy it.
We also got a TV, even if it's an old one.
But do we parade it in front of everyone?
[muttering indistinctly]
-[TV clicks on]
-[static crackling]
[man on TV in English]
--stroke with a feather.
For others...
[man] It's on!
[man on TV in English]
--and care about vengeance.
[upbeat music playing on TV]
Wow! I can't believe it!
Our country's own TV channel!
A Bhutanese TV channel!
We are indeed a modern country now!
[static crackles]
[man on TV] --people of Ura,
learn how to vote in the Mock Election
so you can vote for me, "Lodro,"
in the general elections.
Remember how my family always served you.
Can't believe this idiot represents
the "freedom and equality" party.
Imagine our country
if he wins the elections.
What's worse is
your mother is voting for him.
[upbeat music playing on TV]
You know they are fattening up two pigs?
Lodro will slaughter them to throw a party
when he launches his election campaign.
Our villagers flock
to wherever there is free pork.
Just like flies hovering over shit.
They are so cunning, it's disgusting.
Thinley must win the elections.
Enough of being servants
to Lodro's family.
Such feudal systems cannot exist
in today's world.
I can't agree with your mother
on this matter.
I really don't care about all this.
The head of Elections
is coming here tomorrow.
The village headman wants me
to be her assistant.
Wow! We also have a TV?
Yes, we do.
This was given to us by Uncle Thinley.
But you know Ap Dorji has a new one
that's way bigger.
But he had to sell his cows for that TV.
Thanks to Uncle Thinley,
we never have to sell our cows.
Oh, okay, Dad, but did you get my eraser?
I forgot to get them.
I have been busy
with the upcoming elections.
Dad, what is elections?
Let's say I am busy right now
so one day you can be the Prime Minister.
I don't want to be the Prime Minister,
I just want my eraser.
Okay, I will make sure I get an eraser
for the future Prime Minister of Bhutan.
Anyway, I need to go help Thinley
with his campaign.
See you later.
[pensive music playing]
[Tashi] Lama, these are for you
until I get back.
[Lama] Make sure you get them
by the Full Moon.
[Tashi] Yes, of course, Lama.
[woman on radio in English]
In other international news,
Bhutan, a country
that was the last in the world
to connect to the Internet
and even allow televisions,
has just also become
the world's youngest democracy,
with the kingdom's
beloved 51-year-old monarch abdicating
in favor of democratic reforms.
The government is teaching
their mostly rural population
about their newfound democratic rights
and privileges.
But strangely,
many Bhutanese don't want this change...
[cell phone jingling]
...and the democratic transition
has been highly unpopular.
Yes, Phurba, I am coming to Ura now.
The voter registration there
has been a disaster.
What have you guys been doing?
You know CNN, BBC and even Al Jazeera
are covering our elections.
Imagine how embarrassing it would be
if the world saw empty polling stations.
The Mock Election has to succeed.
[Tashi muttering indistinctly]
[pensive music playing]
[woman] Oh, it's you, Master Tashi.
Are you going down?
[Tashi] Yes, I am going down.
Are you going up?
[woman] Yes, I am going up.
[indistinct chatter]
[in English] Ron, please.
[driver groans]
[engine starts, then dies]
-[engine starts]
-[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
So listen, uh, Ron, if anyone asks,
you are here to visit Buddhist temples
and, uh, I am your guide, okay?
[in English] Well, if it is the one,
I hope the price is right.
For how much you are offering,
they'd be crazy to refuse.
[birds singing]
Tshomo, everything well?
How have you been?
So, you and Yuphel don't visit me
these days.
-Do you have enough to eat?
-You don't have to worry about us.
Where did Choephel go?
He should be helping you with work.
Useless husband.
I warned you from the start
that you shouldn't mix water and milk.
Our traditions have to be maintained.
Lodro has to win the elections.
Do you need some money?
It's okay, we are getting by.
Here, buy Yuphel some sweets.
Thank you, Mother.
-I'll get going, then.
-I am sorry we don't have any.
-It's okay. I'll look in other houses.
-[pensive music playing]
In fact,
I have never seen a gun in my life.
I haven't either.
Ap Penjor might have them,
you should go check his house.
Thank you, I will go check there.
[music fades]
[indistinct chatter]
-So, we're all set for today?
We'll be going
to our contact person's house.
It's a five-hour drive.
-[engine starts]
-[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
[cows bellowing]
[inaudible dialogue]
-Good morning!
-Please, come sit.
Good morning.
[man speaking indistinctly on TV]
Good morning. Please, come sit.
-[channel changes]
-[rocket roaring on TV]
[Neil Armstrong on TV in English]
That's one small step for man,
one giant leap for mankind.
[rock music playing on TV]
[men on TV in English]
America, demand your MTV!
[dramatic music playing on TV]
What do you want?
Mmm. Can I have this black water?
[Daniel Craig on TV in English]
I'm motivated by my duty.
You don't have to worry about me.
Can you tend to the people outside?
This man and I have
some unfinished business.
So listen, uncles.
Do you know about
the upcoming Mock Elections?
I heard we need to choose a new leader,
but what's the use?
We already have His Majesty.
Ah, it's the political system in India.
Their leaders are pulling
each other's beards,
throwing chairs at each other,
and now we want to bring that
to our country?
[both laugh]
This is a very serious matter!
I came all this way
to make sure you all take part.
People in other countries are willing
to kill each other for this right.
Our king has gifted us this,
you should at least learn
how you can enjoy this gift!
-Well, isn't it?
Here, take these.
Make sure you are there
for the Mock Election.
[dramatic music and gunfire on TV]
Hey, who is that hero?
That's James Bond.
They call him 007.
[Daniel Craig on TV]
Some men are coming to kill us.
-We're gonna kill them first.
[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
[children chattering]
Your father is a traitor
for supporting an outsider!
You people should leave our village!
[dog barking]
[man] Good afternoon, everyone!
My name is Phurba.
We are from the election office,
to teach you all how to vote.
The Mock Election will be in three days.
For that, we are providing you
a choice of fictional parties.
Three of them: red, blue and yellow.
Just vote for the one you think
will bring you the most happiness.
Before we get to the Mock Election,
we need to register each of you.
-Your name, please?
-Wangda what?
-Just Wangda.
Just Wangda?
-How about your date of birth?
-Wooden rabbit.
No, no, I need date, month and year.
Hmm. That I don't know.
My parents told me that I was born
when the king was 15 years old.
Oh, well.
Don't any of you know your own birthdays?
If this is the case, please go back home
and come back
when you know your birthdays!
But please come back to register.
Those without birthdays, please go!
How would we know
such useless information?
Madame, you got here so early.
This is Tshomo.
The village headman assigned her
to help us.
Look at this, Phurba!
You all came here before me,
yet it's still such a mess.
If I am not here,
you can't do anything right.
I think we will need to go door-to-door
and drag everyone to get registered.
-We leave first thing tomorrow morning.
-Yes, madame.
[softly] Idiot!
-Why couldn't you tell me she was here?
-Sorry, sir.
[Phurba] Now start registering
whoever is left.
Yes, sir.
Hello, name please?
[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
[engine dies]
[engine sputtering]
-[engine starts]
-[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
[man on TV] ...I am going to vote,
are you going to?
Concerned about our country's economy?
Then please go and vote.
[upbeat music playing on TV]
How was school, my dear?
[woman speaking indistinctly on TV]
What happened?
Tell me, what happened?
Nothing, I was playing and I fell.
Look at your clothes,
they're all covered in dirt.
-Tell me, what happened?
I can tell when something is wrong.
[woman on TV] If you love your country,
you should go vote!
Mommy, today, the teacher got angry at me.
I did not have an eraser.
I corrected my mistakes
with my handkerchief
and it tore up the pages.
The teacher shouted at me.
All these pages tore.
It's okay, dear, we'll go to the market
tomorrow and get you an eraser.
[man on TV] We need to break away
from the past
and work together
for what modernization brings us.
People of Ura, for the General Election,
please cast your sacred vote for me,
[woman speaking indistinctly on TV]
Friends said
Dad supports "industrial development."
It doesn't matter what they say.
Don't worry about such things.
And my cousins said Dad is a traitor
for not agreeing with Grandma.
Is Dad a traitor?
[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
[dogs barking]
[engine stops]
-[in Dzongkha] Greetings!
-Hello, Mr. Benji!
[in English] Come sit here.
If you told us you were coming,
we could have prepared lunch for you.
[Benji chuckles]
Bumo, bring the item.
[in Dzongkha] He is the foreigner
I told you about.
A friend of mine, Mr. Ron.
Mr. Ron is actually a gun collector.
Don't worry about selling your gun to him.
He is very knowledgeable and respected.
It's only right to sell it to him.
The gun has been here for generations.
This is an American Civil War rifle.
But look at the serial number.
This one is so rare.
We've been searching for this
all over the world for the last 30 years.
[Benji] It looks like this gun is...
like a long-lost treasure for him
and his people.
[birds singing]
Tell him, I'll give him $75,000.
[in English] Seventy-five thousand?
[in Dzongkha] Auspiciousness comes
to those with good hearts!
He wants to give you...
3.5 million Ngultrums for this gun.
My, my...
That's too much.
I feel uncomfortable accepting that much.
It's not like I am selling him a diamond.
-I just wouldn't feel right.
-No, no, just listen.
I told him about your debts.
He understands
the difficult situation you are in.
He is being kind to help you out.
Not enough?
No problem, I can go up to 85K.
[Benji in English] No, no!
He thinks the amount's too high.
He wants something lesser than that.
[in Dzongkha]
So, how does 1.5 million Ngultrums sound?
Well, 1.5 million still is very generous,
but it's more acceptable.
-[Benji] So it's a deal?
[in English] Hey, Ron, done deal.
Wait, what?
USD 32,000.
-[Ron] Are you sure?
-[Benji] Yeah, I'm sure.
[in Dzongkha] So, it's all done. Okay.
[in English] There's a bank
a couple of hours from here.
So we'll do the withdrawal and then
come back tomorrow morning. Is it good?
[in Dzongkha] Tomorrow, we will pay you,
and you give us the gun then.
[in English] Ah, yeah. Okay.
Okay, give me that.
[in Dzongkha] Remember, it's 1.5 million,
there's five zeros in that.
-Look after it well.
-[speaking indistinctly]
[camera clicks]
[engine sputters]
[engine starts]
-[in English] Ah. Here we go.
-[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
-Hello, Ap Penjor.
-Are you well?
-You look good.
-All is well.
-Please, come inside.
[cell phone ringing]
[in Dzongkha] What is it?
I am busy here for the sake of both of us.
But we have to pay our bills.
If you need money,
check under the mattress.
I need to go.
-[line beeping]
[knocking on door]
-[man] Does Benji live here?
-Call him.
-He is not here at the moment.
Where did he go?
He said he would be back in a few days.
-Who are you?
-I am his wife.
Is Benji into antique trading?
No, that was given to him by his parents.
Is Benji with any foreign guests?
Guess what. I found it.
Yeah, it was with some Bhutanese farmer
in the middle of nowhere.
No, he has no idea how much it's worth.
Can you believe it, after all these years?
Okay, so I should have it by tomorrow.
Call me then.
This man seems to be involved with guns.
It seems he has entered Bhutan,
and we are wondering
what he is doing here.
Our search revealed
that Benji is his registered guide.
-Do you know anything about this?
-No, I don't know anything.
I doubt Benji would be involved
in gun trading.
[in English]
I mean, is there gun in Bhutan?
Does this look like a toy to you?
Call me the moment
Benji gets in touch with you.
[in Dzongkha] Okay.
[door closes]
[cell phone keypad clicking]
[line dialing]
[automated voice] The subscriber
you have dialed is switched off.
Here you go, master.
Wow, this is really heavy.
Of course it is.
It is a precious antique.
They say it killed many Tibetans
during the wars.
We had forgotten about it.
Just left it in storage.
No one really cared about it.
Until today, this foreigner--
-But does it still work?
-Of course it does.
Why would Lama want a gun?
I'm not sure.
He still has two years left
for his meditation retreat.
Suddenly, he wanted guns.
I do owe so much to Lama.
All of us in the village are happy
and peaceful
because of his prayers and blessings.
If he needs it,
please accept this as an offering.
That's not acceptable at all.
-It is not much, but I must pay you.
-Please, no need.
-No, it's inauspicious.
-I simply cannot accept.
No, I could never accept money
from a monk.
Here then, a betel nut for a gun.
I'll accept a betel nut.
There will be no karmic debt between us.
Lama will have a ritual on the Full Moon.
You and your daughter must attend.
Of course! We will.
I presume Lama will need bullets as well?
Oh, yes, he will need some.
[pensive music playing]
Madame, we went knocking
on every door but--
The entire world is watching us.
It's unacceptable
that we have 10% voter registration.
Democracy is the pinnacle
of Gross National Happiness.
We must evolve with the rest of the world.
[upbeat music playing on radio]
[camera clicks]
Who's that?
Some useless government official trying
to teach people how to vote.
People need to be taught how to vote?
Let's go, Ron.
-[engine starts]
-[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
Is that a monk? With a gun?
It's Master Tashi.
He is our Lama's attendant.
-Hello, master, where are you off to?
-I am going to our monastery in Ura.
Is something wrong?
We are heading that way,
we can give you a ride.
Hello, Master Tashi.
Where are you coming from?
From Ap Penjor's house.
[Tshomo] This is the head
of the Elections office. Please hop in.
Let us accumulate some merits
by serving a monk.
Yeah. Yeah, we're on our way.
But, oh, my God, that bank.
Yeah, we got the cash, it's all in a bag.
Oh. Okay, we're almost here.
I'll let you know.
[Benji sighs]
[in Dzongkha] Here you go.
This is all for you.
Don't be upset, I gave it away.
What was that?
You gave the gun away?
-What'd he say?
I didn't quite get you.
You keep the money, we take the gun,
that was the arrangement.
Yes, but it's too late now.
But we had a deal.
Who did you give it to?
So, why are you carrying that?
-Carrying what?
-That gun.
Oh, it's for my Lama.
What is it for?
I don't know.
Lama said he needs to make things right.
To a monk?
Now, listen...
you put me
in a very awkward position here.
Who is this monk?
Why would a monk take our gun?
He is from the Ura monastery.
Apparently, the Lama wanted a gun.
So I gave it as an offering.
A Lama with a gun.
Why would a Lama want a gun?
What is our country coming to?
-[upbeat music playing on radio]
-So, what are you officials doing here?
We are here to modernize our country.
To teach rural people how to vote.
-Have you heard about it?
-Heard about what?
-Oh, I don't know.
-Is it that new pig disease?
-Pig disease?
No! It's where you choose your new leader.
Oh, no.
What happened to His Majesty?
His Majesty is still there,
but he's giving up his power to rule.
But why would someone even do that?
Because to be democratic is to be modern.
I have never heard about this.
Well, that's because
this is new to Bhutan.
I guess it's a teaching of the Buddha?
Well, not really.
Oh, then how can we be so sure
if it will even be good for us?
It doesn't matter
what Buddha taught 2500 years ago.
This is modern thought,
of course it will be good for us.
Where did this monk go?
To the monastery.
-When did he leave?
-He left this morning.
-By car or did he walk?
-He walked.
[in English] Hey, Ron, I think
we can catch up with him. Let's go.
-[Tshering] Master!
[Tshering] Tell your Lama
to come attend our Mock Election.
His presence could draw in people.
No, we can't.
Lama is planning something important
on the Full Moon day.
Isn't that in two days?
[Phurba] It's on the day
of our Mock Elections.
What is Lama planning to do?
I am not sure.
He said it's to make things right again.
Mmm. Stop here. This is my stop.
-Thank you for the ride.
-See you on the Full Moon.
-We will also come for your Lama's event.
-[Tashi] Okay.
Hmm. This is perfect!
Religious gatherings always
bring in huge crowds.
Let's set up the Mock Elections there.
Yes, madame, villagers gather like flies
for such events.
[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
[horn honking]
[engine stops]
[in Dzongkha]
Master, please wait a moment!
I need to talk to you
about something very important.
How can I help?
My name is Benji,
and this is my friend, Mr. Ron.
Do you know the country America?
It's very far away.
He's come all this way,
with great difficulty, for that gun.
Yesterday, we went to Ap Penjor's.
He said he was in debt,
so I offered to help him.
I helped make a deal
between Mr. Ron and Ap Penjor.
We were going to buy the gun from him.
But this morning you had taken the gun.
-Can we please have the gun back?
Please don't joke like this.
Do you realize how much trouble
it was to get it?
Wait! We don't want it for free,
let us buy it from you!
Wait! Wait! Hold on a second!
Hold on!
You are not understanding me here.
-What are you doing with so much money?
-This is all for you.
Just give us the gun in return.
No, no, what will I do
with this much money?
I don't need money, I need guns.
-What's a monk going to do with a gun?
-It's for my Lama.
I have been searching
all over for this gun.
[in English] Ron, it seems
he doesn't want the money.
Look, tell him I can pay
in lots of dollars.
What did he say?
[in Dzongkha] He will give you
a lot of dollars for the gun.
Come here, let me show you,
see this shiny green note
with this bald man?
This is the most powerful currency
in the world.
Today is your lucky day.
Forget about how powerful dollars are,
some people even sell their kidneys
for dollars.
[Ron] Look, tell him he can name his price
for the gun, anything.
He's even starting to beg now.
You wear the Buddha's robes,
so I know you are a person
of immense compassion.
Please just give us the gun. [chuckles]
I am very sorry.
Yes, as a monk,
I am duty-bound to help others.
But just not this time, I'm sorry.
[Benji sighs]
So sir here will shout,
"I want blue," okay?
And then, uh, the grandma in black.
Yes, please come up.
Here, take this.
So sir here will shout,
"I want blue," okay?
When he shouts, "I want blue,"
all on this side must shout,
"We don't want blue, we want red!"
Before we begin,
let's divide ourselves into two sides.
From the middle, move to this side,
and you all move to that side.
This side is for blue
and that side is for red, understood?
Now to begin, shout, "We want blue."
Okay. We want blue.
-A bit louder.
-We want blue!
-Still a bit louder.
-We want blue!
-Yes, just like that.
-[crowd] We want blue!
-We want red!
-We want blue!
Okay, okay, that's enough!
Show some passion!
It's for your new leader!
You aren't supposed to like each other!
Shout louder!
Like you want to hit each other!
Well, not really hit,
but act like you want to!
You are supposed
to despise each other. Once more!
-We want blue!
-We want red!
-Down with red, we want blue!
-Glory to red!
[all clamoring]
Why are you teaching us to be so rude?
This is not who we are.
[crowd chanting]
Down with blue, we want only red!
[Benji] Please wait!
[Ron] Why doesn't he want the money?
[in English] I don't know, man, something
about his master wanting the gun.
[Ron] Master?
What are we doing?
[Benji in Dzongkha]
Can you just wait a second?
[Ron] Look! It's just an old gun,
it probably doesn't even work.
[in Dzongkha] Look, the gun is very old!
It's not going to benefit you.
Well, Ap Penjor said it killed
hundreds of Tibetans during the war.
Yes, but the war was a few centuries ago.
It's old talk. [chuckles]
Look at the metal, it's all rusted.
Wouldn't you prefer something new?
Hello? What's happening?
[in English] I told him it's an old gun.
It would be better if he gets a new gun.
Okay, tell him with the money I can offer,
he can buy ten brand-new guns.
[in Dzongkha] Looks like you accumulated
lots of merits in your previous life!
Give him the gun, and with his money,
you can buy ten brand-new guns.
Ten guns that can kill! What a deal!
Yes, yes, please sit down.
I am telling you the truth.
You would never get such a deal
for rusted junk.
The heavens are showering you
with this opportunity
because you are such a good monk.
Don't squander such opportunities,
grasp it with both hands!
Well, I don't really need ten guns.
But I do need two guns.
That can be done.
Mr. Ron is an expert
when it comes to guns.
In his country,
there are more guns than people.
-More guns than people?
Wow, must be a very unique land.
Guns are a very important part
of their culture.
In their version of the sutras,
the second verse states that
all citizens have the right to own guns.
Now, let's not waste time,
just give us this gun.
Okay, so I would need two guns.
[Benji] So we will give you two guns,
two brand-new guns.
That sounds like a fair deal,
don't you think so?
Of course it is a fair deal!
-[in English] Hey, Ron, Ron.
-[Ron] Yeah?
We'll trade this old gun
for two new guns, is that okay?
-Two guns? For that one?
Okay, you can tell him that he can choose
any gun from this list.
All right.
[in Dzongkha] Look at the choice you have.
You can pick any gun from this list.
[cell phone rings]
How is this one?
-How about this one?
-Okay, you don't like that one.
-[Ron] Hello? Hello?
This is what the American cowboys use.
This one is very cool.
Nah, it's too small.
-It's too small!
A monk. Monk. Like--
Wears robes, meditates--
Yeah, yeah, like a Buddhist monk.
[Tashi] Oh, this one!
It's what the hero 007 used on the TV.
I want this one!
Please tell him to get me this one.
-The biggest one?
-Yes, this one.
Now, don't take advantage,
you greedy monk!
-No, no, I am looking out for you.
If it's big, it will be heavy.
If it's heavy,
it's difficult for you to carry.
If it's small, it's light and easy.
-No, I want this!
-This one is better.
No, I want this one.
Tell him to get me this.
I don't know what a Buddhist monk wants
with a gun, but listen...
Hello? Hello?
[in English] He's not budging, man,
he's saying he wants two.
[Ron] Two AK-47s?
What's he gonna do with AK-47s in Bhutan?
Hello, there's a little problem,
the monk wants AK-47s for the gun,
two of them.
[in Dzongkha] Hey, master!
I am sorry, you are taking too long.
I must return to my Lama.
No, please wait.
We are getting you your guns.
It will be here in a few days.
A few days? I don't have a few days.
I need the guns before the Full Moon.
Full Moon?
Day after tomorrow? That's too soon.
If I don't get them by Full Moon,
it's useless.
[in English] Hey, Ron,
he's saying he needs the guns
by day after tomorrow.
-Are you kidding?
-I'm not, he's not budging.
It doesn't seem to be negotiable.
All right, we'll have
to figure something out.
Probably from India.
[in Dzongkha]
Hey, do you have a phone number?
[Tashi] Don't worry, let's do this:
Meet me down there on the Full Moon day.
We can exchange our guns by the stupa.
You better keep your word.
Mm. Don't worry.
-[Benji] It's bad karma to lie.
-Yes, yes.
[on TV] I am Tshering Yangden,
the Director of Elections.
His Majesty has given us
this precious gift.
Let us not waste this opportunity.
Please come join us for the Mock Election
and learn how to exercise
your sacred duty.
Let us Bhutanese all work together
to make our country modern and developed!
[upbeat music playing on TV]
Wow, my favorite!
Mother made pork and radish!
[door opens]
[door closes]
Your mother came by?
Did she complain endlessly about me again?
Tomorrow's election registration
is at the market.
I am going to take Yuphel with me.
[Choephel] Why would you take Yuphel?
She used her handkerchief
to erase her notebook.
It tore the pages.
The teacher scolded her.
It's okay. I'll see your teacher tomorrow.
I'll tell her I forgot your eraser.
No, it's okay.
You shouldn't go to her school.
What's wrong with me going
to my own daughter's school?
You are too involved
with Lodro and Thinley's election.
It's causing so much disruption
to our family.
Even at Yuphel's school,
there are all these rumors about you.
I am doing all this for us,
for Yuphel's sake.
When Thinley wins
and gets a ministerial position,
he will remember we supported him.
He could help us get Yuphel
into a city school.
Away from this pathetic rural life.
Here, the highlight of the month...
is eating a piece of dried pork.
Is there anything for us here? Tell me!
[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
[engine stops]
[Benji] Ron.
Greetings. [chuckles]
Little girl, get us two teas?
[line dialing]
Why do you keep calling?
The police?
What--? What did they want?
[cell phone ringing]
A photo of a foreigner?
What did this foreigner look like?
Yeah, and then?
Why would I be involved in guns?
I am not crazy.
Don't worry,
I am just being his guide, okay?
Okay, so, listen.
We got two brand-new AK-47s
with a hundred rounds.
[in English] A hundred, eh?
Yeah, the monk can shoot up the whole
mountain with that many if he wants.
[in English] The worry was the government
wouldn't be able to register the voters,
but all efforts are being put in
to increase the voters' turnout
for tomorrow morning's Mock Election.
This is Karma Gelek, with cameraman
Kinley Wangchuk, reporting from Ura.
[in Dzongkha] Was that okay?
Should we redo it?
How many did you get?
Just this one for now.
This is an offering for you
from Ap Penjor.
Even this was very difficult.
It felt like
the entire world was after this gun.
Ap Penjor gave these bullets too.
He said this gun killed
many Tibetans in the wars.
[pensive music playing]
[Lama] There's a lot
of aggression in it, huh?
[Tashi] Yes.
This is good, this is good.
I got a ride with that lady
who was on the radio the other day.
-Oh, she's arrived?
Did she see the gun?
Yes, she did.
She was very occupied
with that election thing
everyone seems
to be going on about these days.
everything is falling into place.
Yes, it is.
[indistinct chatter]
Yuphel, take this
and go buy yourself an eraser.
Go straight to school, okay?
Mother needs to go to work.
Okay, Mommy.
[Bhutanese pop music playing on radio]
So how far is this place again?
It's gonna take the whole day.
[Ron] Are we gonna make it back in time?
[man 1] Red chilies,
high-quality red chilies!
[man 2] Green chilies, green chilies!
Indian chilies!
[tranquil music playing]
[Lama] The moment we get down,
we must prepare for tomorrow.
-We don't have much time.
-[Tashi] Yes, Lama.
-Did you bring the gun?
-Yes, I did, Lama.
-And the bullets?
-Yes, Lama.
Tshomo, there is a little girl for you.
Oh, no, she's come here?
Mommy, I don't like this market.
No one sells erasers here.
-Hi, what's your name?
-My name is Yuphel.
In that case...
I did not know you were a mother.
Here you go, an eraser.
An eraser for the little madame.
You probably need pens too, right?
Mommy, look, foreign pens and an eraser.
I'll share them with my classmates,
maybe then they will talk to me?
Who doesn't talk to you?
Actually, madame, this is something
I wanted to talk to you about.
Here, Yuphel, sit down.
Why don't you draw something?
Sit, Tshomo. Sit down.
Do you really think all this is worth it?
I told you,
people around the world fight
for these changes we are now gifted.
Yes, but if we don't have to fight for it,
maybe we don't really need it.
For a villager like myself,
the most important thing in life
is my family.
Ever since all of this came
to our village,
my family life has been disrupted.
My husband spends all his time trying
to compete with our neighbors.
My mother and husband have become enemies,
they don't even talk
to each other anymore.
This bitterness has even
reached Yuphel's school.
Her classmates don't play with her
because she is her father's daughter.
It's because we've just started
this process.
Soon it will pass,
and everyone will be happy and prosperous.
But, madame, we were always happy.
Yuphel, we should get going.
Madame, this drawing is for you.
Thank you so much for the pens and eraser.
[phone ringing]
Hello? Yes, sir.
We haven't been able
to track them down yet.
We are looking for his guide.
Yes, yes.
I will report back
when we have an update. Yes, sir.
[in English] The worry was the government
wouldn't be able to register the voters.
But all efforts are being put in
to increase the voters' turnout
for tomorrow morning's Mock Election.
This is Karma Gelek, with cameraman
Kinley Wangchuk, reporting from Ura.
-Duba, let's go.
-Yes, sir.
[Bhutanese pop music playing
over speakers]
Yes, it's Nobs here.
It will reach the gate later tonight,
just make sure it gets past Customs.
I'll make the payment at the end.
You will get your items later tonight.
It's going to cost you $30,000.
[in English] Thirty thousand dollars?
[in Dzongkha]
After all we have been through together?
Come on, Nobs, bring it down.
I'm not sneaking in
Indian domestic helpers.
We're talking about guns here!
[in English] He say he wants $30,000.
I want that as well.
I need it to photograph my angels here.
Leave it behind.
He wants the camera as well.
[Ron sighs]
[Benji in Dzongkha]
Nobs, so we're good, right?
I'll see you later.
-Look what I got!
-Wow, so many!
These are all foreign ones.
You must have spent a lot of money
on these.
We didn't buy it.
The election lady gave it to us.
-The election madame?
If you get a chance,
you should talk to her about Thinley.
This is really too much now.
I don't care about Lodro or Thinley,
and how they want to win desperately.
We don't need to send her
to a city school.
She's happy right here with her family.
I just want our old lives back.
Where our family was happy and together.
The life where Yuphel had friends
to play with.
So, I mean, you--
You don't think
he's gonna kill anyone, do you?
He's a monk right?
So, he wouldn't do that, right?
[in English] I don't know, man.
We live in strange times.
Yeah, 'cause, you know,
these guns are pretty dangerous.
They could cause a lot of a damage
if they're not used responsibly. You know?
-[motor stops]
Customs got all suspicious about it,
such a heavy bag.
That's it.
[in Dzongkha] The money is all there,
you can count it.
The money is there, but, Benji,
not sure what you are doing here.
You know the risks.
Better be careful.
[in English] Good business.
[motor starts]
[indistinct chatter]
Madame, good news.
After extensive pushing here,
we have registered 98% of eligible voters.
Mmm. Good, that's very good to hear.
Congratulations to all of us.
[clears throat]
Please remember the three colors!
Blue for freedom and equality.
Red for industrial development.
Yellow for preservation.
You can vote for whichever is your choice.
[Choephel] Remember,
red is industrial development.
That is most like
what Thinley will bring us.
[Phurba] Oh, get out of here,
you children!
This is only for people above 18.
[children laughing]
Why don't you rascals listen?
Do you have wooden ears or what?
She's the one.
The one responsible for all this.
Many people seem
to have turned up for this.
Yes, it's become quite the event.
-Greetings, Lama.
I wonder what great misfortune
has come for you
to abandon your meditation to come to us.
Yes, we must come together to play
our part for the sake of our future.
Today, your gun will make things right
once again.
We don't have time,
let's get ready for her.
Yes, Lama.
[Ron] So can you fix it?
[Benji] Hey, hey! Please stop.
Our car broke down,
we need to get to Ura.
We are also in a rush,
we are going for Lama's ritual.
And apparently we need to go vote, hop in.
Thank you so much!
[in English] Ron, come, come on,
let's get in. Come, come!
-Give me the bag.
-[Ron grunts]
We are done. We had a 98% turnout.
Wow! That's historic.
Wait, why is everyone voting
for the yellow party? Look at this.
Yes, the yellow party secured over 95%.
A party wouldn't win by 95%.
When I asked the people
who they voted for,
most of them said yellow.
But why?
Madam, yellow is the color of the king.
Why didn't we think about that?
Looks like even if they went to the polls,
the color yellow still connected them
to the king.
[dramatic music playing on TV]
[officer] Little girl.
Did you see this foreigner?
Did you see this foreigner?
[Lama chanting]
[all chanting]
[percussion and horn instruments
playing traditional music]
I understand
how much people love His Majesty.
That's exactly why we can't fail him.
Do they have to be that loud?
-[officer] Good afternoon.
-Good afternoon.
-Can we help you, officer?
-We are looking for two individuals.
Lama wants you over at the ritual.
I don't have time.
[Tashi] He insists you come.
All these preparations
have been made for you.
-For me?
Lama says he planned all this,
after he heard you on the radio
saying you were coming to Ura.
So, please, come.
Might as well, our Mock Election turned
into a pig's disease.
Tshomo, Phurba, let's go.
[music continues]
[chanting continues]
Look, there's a foreigner coming.
[Tashi] Hello.
You guys made it.
[in Dzongkha] So many people up there.
What's going on?
Is there some sort of event?
Are those the guns?
Don't say it so loud.
Great! Lama will be happy to see them.
[officer] Hey, hold on, you guys!
Benji, who's that?
-[in English] Benji? Mr. Coleman?
-Yes, officer.
Could you guys please come with us?
We need to ask a few questions
about your stay in Bhutan.
Oh, I'm here to visit the temples.
What an auspicious day.
Lama has come out of retreat.
All our villagers have gathered here.
The government officials have also come.
And now we even have police officers here.
All gathered spontaneously,
how auspicious!
Please, you all must come
attend the ritual.
Please come, please come.
[officer in Dzongkha]
Don't try anything smart.
[in English] Where are you from, sir?
I'm from the U.S.
Oh. A great democratic country.
The leader of free world.
Sir, do you know we are teaching
about democracy to the Bhutanese?
That's great.
[music loudens]
This is my first time meeting an American.
After the ceremonies,
can we talk about democracy?
I have a feeling that you can help us.
Our Mock Election didn't work
as we had planned.
No, sorry, I don't think I can do that.
Oh, don't be modest, sir.
You're from the land of Lincoln and JFK.
[chanting continues]
[indistinct chatter]
[bells jingling]
Can everyone listen here?
I don't know anything
about these modern ways.
I don't know
if these are good or bad for us.
But we need to make things right.
Stupas represent
the enlightened mind of the Buddha.
We have built many like this one
in the past to avert obstacles.
Now we will build a new one,
to clear obstacles for our country,
as we find ourselves at a moment
of great change and transition.
When we build stupas, we fill them
with grains so it may avert famines.
We put in medicines to avert pandemics.
And deep in the foundation,
we must bury something
that symbolizes hatred,
conflict and suffering.
And we build our stupa on top of this,
to symbolize the victory
of compassion and peace
over these three poisons.
As a symbol of all the negativity
in the world,
we will take this gun
and bury it under the stupa.
[softly] Hey, get the gun back,
get it back.
[softly] Wait, wait, wait,
what's happening? Hey.
What's going on?
You are entrusted with important
responsibilities for our country.
Please make aspirations for our country
and place it in the foundation.
-[drums playing]
-[monks chanting]
-What? What's going on?
-[crowd cheering]
May all be victorious!
May all be victorious!
[in Dzongkha] Hey, you two!
Come along with us now.
[in English] Sir.
[Benji] Sir, sir.
Please hold on a moment.
The reason why we are here is because...
we wanted to make an offering
for the stupa.
-What was that?
Master Tashi, please come here.
We heard Lama was planning
something like this
so we came all the way
to make an offering, right?
The two of us have been working
to bring the most powerful
and deadly guns to offer here.
We are happy to get this opportunity.
Yes, 007's guns from the movie.
-Yes, 007's guns!
Is this true?
Yes, sir, they were going
to bring us two guns,
two powerful guns,
guns that can kill people.
-Guns that can kill people?
[in English]
Actually, my friend Mr. Coleman,
he came all the way to, uh, donate
these guns for stupa's construction.
[in Dzongkha] Please have a look.
Here you go.
Oh! These are AK-47s!
Where did you get these?
Even the Bhutanese army doesn't
have these.
[chanting continues]
Please excuse us.
[whispering indistinctly]
Okay, now. Everyone, please, listen.
Our friend here has crossed many oceans
to come here from a land called America.
To bring these guns
as an offering for our stupa.
So let us express our gratitude to him.
These guns are
the deadliest guns in the world.
I have seen how they kill
with my own eyes.
Please place them into the foundation
with your own hands.
-[whispering indistinctly]
-And as you do, please pray
that wisdom and compassion destroys
all the hatred,
aggression and suffering in the world.
Please place them in.
Please place them in.
[in English] Just throw it in.
[crowd cheering and whooping]
May all be victorious!
May all be victorious!
[rocks clunking]
[all] May all be victorious!
[whooping continues]
[whooping stops]
[indistinct chatter]
[tranquil music playing]
-[group singing]
-[hands clapping]
[singing stops]
I wanted to offer our foreign friend here
a small token of appreciation...
for the kind offerings he has made.
[Benji] Phalluses are
a very important part of our culture.
We believe that it destroys duality,
and, uh, it gets us closer
to enlightenment.
[upbeat music playing]
Thank you.
May all beings have happiness,
may all beings be free from suffering.
[translating in English]
[in Dzongkha] Thank you.
[in English] Thank you so much
for your extremely generous contribution.
Uh, happy to contribute.
They say if you contribute and participate
in this kind of sacred rituals,
it will help you accumulate
incredible merits.
-Good deeds.
Oh, is that so?
Yeah, it will actually help you get rid
of your personal attachments.
But none of us are here
for those reasons, huh?
Yeah, of course not.
[all singing]
[singing fades]
[vehicle approaches]
[dog barks]
Thank you for coming here and helping us.
Please take care, madame.
[in Dzongkha] Thank you for everything
you have done for us, Tshomo.
Madame, here is your eraser.
You need it more than me.
You have important responsibilities.
[engine starts]
[tranquil music playing]
[tranquil music continues]
[music fades]
[traditional music playing]
[music fades]