contain  multitudes  •  by  Padma  Dorje  •  established  in  2003
contain  multitudes
Home > Scribbles > A Review of Hema Hema

A Review of Hema Hema

Art-house bhutanese twilight zone

Khyentse Norbu is a film-maker belonging to the lineage of the finest Asian masters, Hiroshi Teshigahara and Satyajit Ray. This is a feast for careful placement of movement in frame, all the while retaining plot. It is an art-house, "bardo" (gap) movie, but narrative and plot twists are present for those who are able to withstand a somewhat still contemplative movie, and it works narratively — even though it tells quite a weird story, which is something Norbu is aiming for.

Of course, the director is a major guru in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition (Khyentse Norbu, when we take his mask, is known as The Infallible Source of Refuge Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche). So, this movie is taken by his followers as direct teaching, a powerful transformative message to be integrated as reflection in one's own practice.

While people with slight knowledge of Buddhism will recognize themes, and even capture some nomenclature (hidden in the very well thought of subtitle translation), those with no interest or knowledge in the religion, but who like film and weird experiments (and a twilight-zone fringe feeling of sorts) will enjoy it for sure.

For people with an artistic eye, the masks in themselves are quite captivating. I would surely watch even a series of stills of this movies for quite some time and remain entertained.

The director faced some backlash in his native country, and even accusations of blasphemy, due to using seeming religious imagery in scenes around sex and violence. Yet, Khyentse Norbu is a refined artist scholar with a vast knowledge of film, culture and the human mind. The Japanese nubero bago comes to mind — in that someone refined as Hiroshi Teshigahara, a flower arrangement master, made sensual movies and psychologic science fiction, featuring weirdos, outcasts and the more marginalized aspects of Japanese culture. "Under the Blossoming Cherry Trees" also comes to mind, as well as Shohei Imamura. But the art direction in this Hema Hema comes directly from Satyajit Ray (something that is actualy even clearer in Norbu's last effort, "Vara"). Khyentse Norbu knows what he likes, and he is quite able to put the spot on what is good and make the lineage shine.

More about Hema Hema on IMDB and watch it on demand on Vimeo.


Jacob's Ladder
Monsters of the Week

Let's take a look at one of Silent Hill's major influences: Jacob's Ladder (1990). A psychological horror movie by Adrian Lyne, written by Bruce Joel Rubin and starring Tim Robbins and Elizabeth Peña.

Sandcastles: Buddhism And Global Finance

A fascinating, interdisciplinary interpretation of the volatile worlds of global finance and international trade. Featuring commentary from economist Arnoud Boot, sociologist Saskia Sassen, and Tibetan Buddhist teacher Dzongzar Khyentse Rinpoche (director of The Cup), the film applies a Buddhist analysis to the functioning of worldwide finance and trade.

‘You’re my queen for ever and ever’:
My search for goddess Dakini in Nepal in the age of #MeToo

In these times, what is the role of feminine energy, even one that is about 5000 years old?

Forest of Faded Wisdom

“If at the time of Gendun Chopel, the Tibetan people and the Tibetan government had lent even half an ear to him and acted accordingly, I have no doubt that Tibet and the Tibetan people would be in a different position than they are today. A better one. It is quite amazing that out of Tibet, which is usually considered a primitive, orthodox, forbidden land, someone like Gendun Chopel emerged. His remarkable poetry is a fitting legacy of this unique figure in modern Tibetan history.” ~ Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

If you see any merit on this website's content, please spread the word—comment and share on social networks. It is a practice of generosity that helps my own practice of generosity in producing and making this content available. is produced by
Padma Dorje.


all content, design and coding by Eduardo Pinheiro, 2003-2019
(except where explicitly otherwise indicated)