Chopstick Cinema

Celeste Heiter's Adventures in Asian Food & Film

The Compassionate One

Chopstick Cinema

Chopstick Cinema

Not all is as it seems in this cultural crossover in which Rikkhartha, a Buddhist monk, by a series of random coincidences, identifies a Russian police officer who supervises a Moscow drunk tank as the incarnation of the Dalai Lama. When the media gets wind of the story, the officer, known only as the Senior Lieutenant, needs a place to chill out for a few days. His haven of choice: the village of Kutuzofsk, where Vasya Paramonov, one of his drunk tank regulars, owns an apartment inhabited by his eccentric daughter. And what starts out as pure skepticism takes shape as a real possibility when the Senior Lieutenant begins to work his own brand of miracles.

With its whimsical premise and oddball cast of characters, The Compassionate One is an improbable yet refreshingly original comedy in the genre of Cosi, and Waking Ned Devine. And in its own unique way, it manages to be at once both thought-provokingly profound and buoyantly entertaining. And...within its script is one of the best proverbs ever uttered: “Whoever is destined to be hanged shall not be drowned.”

Join me this week on Chopstick Cinema for a closer look at the Asian entries in the 2009 Cinequest Film Festival, which opens on Wednesday, February 25 and runs through Sunday, March 8. For further information on the film and the festival, visit the Cinequest website.

For questions or comments send e-mail to cheiter at thingsasian dot com