Kushuthara (Pattern of Love)
Kushuthara is Bhutan’s highest-grossing film yet and they are working hard to expand their industry, considering TV and cinema was only allowed in the little-known country in 1999. Director Karma Deki recruited the Bright Young Things and Desperate Housewives star Emrhys Cooper to play a clueless American, denied a backstory of any sort, who has come to do photographic documentation on the weaving ladies of the Bhutanese mountains.
The plot revolves around a straightforward boy meets girl scenario, wherein the girl, Chokimo (played by the beautiful Kezang Wangmo) is married and living a peaceful, serene life with her loving husband (Bumpa Dorji) in the Himalayas, and the boy is the aforementioned white man called Charlie. The story flicks back and forth between them and another couple many years ago that is meant to represent a past life in which their love was not so illegitimate.
Spools of thread and the slow act of creation via weaving bear the brunt of the heavy symbolism in Kushuthara, a film that blatantly simplifies the Oriental philosophies to attract Western audiences with a straightforward approach to karma and the concept of reincarnation – which is in reality so much more complex than a couple falling in love twice through different bodies and under slightly different circumstances (“pattern of love”).
The feature does, however, contain extremely touching moments through the eyes of the jilted husband and an ending that had noses buried in tissues. Deki’s simply written dialogue imparts a deep message of selflessness and inner happiness in spite of the rudimentary use of Buddhist wisdom, and also creates some believable and relatable characters. Many of the secondary actors are locals and this allows for some hilarious and highly authentic scenes of traditional dancing, food and drink customs, and the singing of silly songs to mess around with the foreigner. There is a very natural feel to the movie itself, shot on location in the most beautiful of surroundings, so that one can almost smell the cool mountain air.
Kushuthara is worth a watch, especially as a gateway into other, more traditional Oriental films or to the closer study of Buddhism.
Kushuthara is released in selected cinemas on 7th April 2017.
Watch the trailer for Kushuthara here: