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The Himalayan Boy and the TV Set

This is a very unusual documentary tracing the impact that modern technology is having on remote communities in the Himalayas.

The film opens with the King of Bhutan announcing his intention to allow the internet and TV in the kingdom, though warning about the possible downside of this.

The film then switches to a remote community far from the capital, where traditional life is still being played out, with the main character, Peyangki, a young boy being given to a Tibetan monastery, mainly it appears for survival purposes.

The monastery itself is upon hard times as most of the monks have left for the city, either for education or for the prospects of a more modern lifestyle.

Interspersed with the main story we see the relentless progress that the extension of roads, electricity and communication lines are making across the country.

The boy monk also finds life in the monastery dull and boring, and seeks to escape for some time to go and play at archery with the other boys.

He is then invited to go to the capital Thimpu to help his uncle with the purchase of a TV, and there meets his elder sister, no longer an office worker, and now a night club dancer.

Upon his return to the monastery he finds the sole lama is also leaving, and there are only now two novices in the monastery.

In a memorable closing scene we see the faces of villagers and children sat around TVs watching incomprehensible films in incomprehensible languages, their lives forever transformed.

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