Film Review: Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache

By Samir Shukla

Director Khyentse Norbu's new film, Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache, focuses on the centuries-old Himalayan cultures, respect and celebration of feminine energy. This energy is personified in tantric Buddhism by Dakinis, females who may appear as mysterious living beings who give or take away life force.

This Nepali production tells the tale of Tenzin, a contemporary Tibetan entrepreneur who is working to open a coffee house in Kathmandu and is quite skeptical of ancient beliefs. He is then haunted by inexplicable dreams and visions of Dakinis that are later interpreted by a monk as omens for his imminent death, within seven days.

On the advice of the hip, sunglasses-wearing monk, Tenzin visits another monk who tells him things he has to do to avoid death in seven days.

This mystery drama unfolds ever so slowly and gently, taking its time to navigate the streets and alleys of Kathmandu and Tenzin's new reality as he now becomes distracted from all his endeavors to save his own life.

This movie explores the fears and subtle spirituality of individuals; what if you knew you were going to die in seven days and there were some mysterious ways to avoid it. The film rolls along at a lushly unhurried pace, stitched with subtle humor, making Kathmandu and the surrounding mountains part of the story of the underlying spirituality.

“I try in this film to explore some of the last genuine residues of Tibetan mysticism. Even among Tibetans themselves, their traditional beliefs and ways of behaving and looking at the world are increasingly rare and today carry little if any weight. And yet, I believe this ancient wisdom, which reflects the Buddhist view of reality, has something vital to offer our modern world. Especially, I intend this film to express the deep respect for feminine energy embodied in that wisdom, and to portray in a contemporary setting both the transformative power of this energy and some of the ways it has traditionally been evoked," stated Khyentse Norbu.

Tenzin, as he searches for that elusive Dakini that can save his life, confronts his own rationality during this brief period.

Norbu used only non-professional actors for the film, giving the whole project a sense of natural realism.

On April 8, 2021, The Rubin Museum of Art in New York City will host a virtual live premiere screening of Looking for a Lady with Fangs and a Moustache, followed by a live conversation with the director Khyentse Norbu.

The Global Watch Now @ Home Cinema Release will be on April 9, 2021.


Samir Shukla is the editor of Saathee magazine. Contact -