The day Ugyen was to give his first lesson in the village to which he was assigned, he is awakened by the class leader, who with extreme kindness tells him that his students were waiting for him. A little surprised, Ugyen prepares, but the thoughts crossing the young teacher on the way from his home to school must not have been much different from those he had had in the long eight-day hike he had made. to reach Lunana; that morning his thoughts were really aggravated by the impression of the night before when, when he looked at the bare walls of his new classroom and imagined the living conditions that would await him in the following months, he had decided that he would not be there. able to stay; that he would not be there.
Then he asked the village chief and the man who had followed him through the mountains to bring him back. It was a matter of days, the donkeys would rest, and then he would, surely, leave the inhabitants a little disappointed, especially over the great expectation with which they had awaited his arrival, and he would get rid of a burden and be able to continue with to devote himself to his greatest. dream. : Stop being a teacher and build a brilliant musical career in Australia. This was the reason why they had referred him to Lunana: because of the poor academic performance of his last period, which was mostly concerned with getting a visa to leave the country, the superiors had referred him to the most remote school in the state. and maybe the whole planet.
These are the first connotations of the story told by the film by the Buthaner Pawo Choyning Dorji, who made his debut with this film as a director. Lunana: a yak in the classroomnominated for an Oscar for Best International Film and distributed in Italian cinemas with the title Lunana. The village at the end of the world tells the revolution that is taking place in the soul of its protagonist, and calls on those who today teach in schools all over the world (not necessarily so far away), the heart of the task to which they are called.
The village to which Ugyen is sent is a village of 56 inhabitants at 5 thousand meters above sea level, in the Himalayan mountains on the border between Buthan and Tibet. In winter, the snow makes Lunana inaccessible. Its inhabitants are shepherds of Yak, they do not use electricity, and even children, to play, are content with little. When Ugyen on his first class day asks them what they would like to do when they grow up, he does not expect much different from the only perspective the valley offers them, pastoralism. Surprised by the answers they give him, he reacts at first with obvious cynicism and throws away the prospect that in order to achieve what they want, they must leave their poor village. But there is one of their dreams that begins to dig into his soul: one of the greatest of his students had confessed that he wanted to be a teacher, “because teachers touch the future”. Slowly, in Ugy’s soul, through the encounters he encounters with the villagers, these words come their way. He decides not to leave, to stay in Lunana until the end of his term, and discovers in the period of his existence that it is possible to be happy even here and now, with a happiness that also consists of the rediscovery of the passion for his work, and which manifests itself in a creativity that is also practical to make the village school more beautiful and give its students the way to the future.
What Ugyen teaches us is that no matter what condition we live in schoolits center is a self that finds itself, and for this reason it does not give up, is going to do of the gift of the self the mast of the pedagogical challenge. Start writing on the classroom walls, Ugyen; then he gets a wooden board built, he takes books and notebooks with him from the city, and when the sheets run dry, he quietly gets rid of the traditional paper that was laid on the windows of his home to protect himself from the cold. He teaches with his guitar, lets himself be touched by the life of the boys and girls he is allowed to meet in the far part of the world, and as he leaves Lunana, he is certainly richer than before.
At the end of the film, Ugyen will leave, will be able to go to Australia. Since his return from Lunana to the stage at the Sidney Bar, where he is seen in the final scene, the director leaves a narrative void. We do not know what happens in between. We only know that during a moment of devastation for the distracted patrons of the place, where his presence is only a musical background for their leisure moment, Ugyen interrupts his song and sings a traditional Lunana song.
What is true, in life as in school, remains. And that is why, in the historical moment in which we find ourselves, the vision of this film can open traces of reflection, support and hope in those who work in the school in search of what is essential to them.
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