Synopsis by Nathan Southern
Bhutanese director Neten Chokling's fantasy Milarepa mounts and cinematizes an ancient Buddhist legend -- a moral fable from the eponymous monk's colorful early life. The story unfolds in the 11th century, when Milarepa (Jamyang Lodro) -- christened Thopaga -- unexpectedly loses his father, and finds his life plunged into a bleak hell. His vile aunt and uncle, Peydon and Gyalsten (played by Lhakpa Tsamchoe and Gonpo, respectively), seize control of the deceased's inheritance and force Thopaga, his mother, Kargyen (Kelsang Chukie Tethtong), and his sister, Peta (Tashi Lhamo), into a period of seemingly limitless domestic slavery. When Thopaga turns 16, Kargyen seizes the opportunity to throw an engagement party for him, hoping that she can use the circumstances to reclaim property and title. The townspeople fail to come to her aid, however, causing Kargyen to spur Thopaga onward toward an apprenticeship in the dark arts and an onslaught of ugly, black magic-fueled revenge. In the end, her plan backfires -- thus demonstrating the nasty consequences for anyone who seeks unbridled vengeance against evildoers.
black-magic, engagement, karma, monk, servant, slavery