Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait


The Main 4 Sun, Apr 23, 2017 9:55 PM
The Main 4 Thu, Apr 27, 2017 2:00 PM
Ticket Prices
General Public:$13.00
$6.00 Earlybird
Youth (25 & Under/Box Office Only):$8.00
Film Info
Premiere Status:US Premiere
Programs:Frame Forward: Cinema Expanded
Asian Interest
Voice Category:Film on the Fringe
Release Year:2016
Runtime:96 min
Festivals & Awards:Platform Prize Honorable Mention - Toronto International Film Festival 2016
Hong Kong
Print Source:Hanway
Director:Khyentse Norbu
Producer:Sarah Chen
Pawo Choyning Dorji
Cinematographer:Jigme Tenzing
Screenwriter:Khyentse Norbu
Editor:Tian Zhuangzhuang
Gary Azukx Dyson
Matilda Perks
Principal Cast:Tshering Dorji
Sadon Lhamo
Thinley Dorji
Tony Leung Chiu-Wai
Xun Zhou
Filmography:The Cup ('99)
Travelers and Magicians ('03)
Vara: A Blessing ('13)


Every 12 years, a mysterious 15-day ceremony—from full moon to new moon— draws together a group of people deep into the forests of southeast Bhutan. Bound by mask-wearing anonymity, the participants are invited to explore life in limbo that is not constrained by the past or the future. The expressive masks lend a haunting ambience to the ritual that is in turns celebratory and transgressive.

For our protagonist, named Expressionless due to the nature of his mask, pushing the boundaries of inhibition takes him to a personal point of no return. This fabricated narrative provides a rich canvas for Tibetan lama, filmmaker, and writer Khyentse Norbu to explore issues of identity, self-discovery, and responsibility, with and without a mask. With a beginning and ending that ties this timeless tale to the present, Hema Hema, which means “once upon a time,” delivers a provocative spiritual puzzle.

Director’s Biography

Khyentse Norbu: Khyentse Norbu, is a Tibetan lama, filmmaker, and writer. His three major films are The Cup (1999), Travellers and Magicians (2003) and Vara: A Blessing (2013). He is the author of the book What Makes You Not a Buddhist (Shambhala, 2007) and Not for Happiness: A Guide to the So-Called Preliminary Practices (Shambhala, 2012).

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