Studio 2: Tashi and the Monk

In the very first week of the on-going trimester which covers documentary filmmaking, we were made to watch and analyse several noteworthy documentaries, one them being Tashi and the Monk. Directed by Andrew Hinton, this 2014 documentary covers the relationship between a troubled five-year old girl Tashi Drolma, and a former Monk, Lobsang Phuntsok who runs home for abandoned children at the foothills of the Indian Himalayas. The film is unique because it does not resort any face to face interviews as is the norm for most documentaries. Rather, it employs the observational approach where direct narration is kept to a minimum and an audience is made to simply witness the events as they unfold on screen. Leaving an audience to make their own interpretations and have them reflect on the on-screen proceedings, can be a powerful approach to filming a documentary and is a style that I personally find to have a greater and more lasting effect on a viewer. Additionally, for the short run-time of 45 min, the film, I found to was quite successful in displaying the emotional depth of Phunstok the Monk who, having a troubled childhood himself, goes about tending to the abounded children of his orphanage as well making the difficult choice of decline newer orphans due to over crowding. More to the point is the maturation of Tashi, who in the beginning is shown to be a feisty and recalcitrant but slowly comes around and changes her ways due to Phunstok gentle yet firm interventions. This, all in the span of 45 min is what I believe to be Hinton’s greatest triumph in this documentary, and is what I hope to exhibit in my own works this trimester.

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