Okay, first thing first. I was trying to wrap my head around the peculiar choice of the title. Is it some kind of metaphor that is suggestive of good amongst the crooks? Maybe there actually was a scene in the original cut where they fed honey to a dog but got cut out for screen time. I have no idea.
Honeygiver Among The Dogs is a critically acclaimed feature film directed by Dechen Roder, a beautiful, and in many ways, a truly Bhutanese film. It tells a Bhutanese story, follows a Bhutanese narrative and revolves around Bhutanese beliefs. A surreal mash-up of fiction and occasional fantasy, myth and reality, the film revolves around the conflict between the good and the evil, the corrupt and the upright and, eventually, unveils the heights to which one can go and the lows to which one can stoop to veil their own mischiefs.
Considering how much it was reflective of the society we live in, it felt more real than a fiction. Greed, on the one hand, can make us do nefarious things then pride makes us conceal our immoralities. Superstitions, on the other hand, can justify cynicism and give us a basis for prejudice.
The film, a crime thriller, follows a rather enigmatic narrative. The girl, Choedey, a presumed demoness, suspected for the abduction or even possible murder of a pious elderly nun is followed by an undercover police officer (Kinley) disguised as a civilian. Choedey unsuspectingly requests him to be her travel companion to avoid doubts or suspicion from the police. But she suggests that they walk instead. Kinley is reluctant at first.
As they journey through the forest, Choedey narrates to him many myths of Khandom Yeshey Tshogyal as if to convince him about something. Kinley dismisses it every time as a myth. They reach Thimphu.
Choedey stays at Kinley’s, for a while. By now, lured by her charm, Kinley is foolishly convinced that Choedey could not have committed the murder as he fails to establish an obvious motive. Attachments can fog sound judgment.
Kinley is relieved from the case on the ground of conflict of interest stating that he probably has been bewitched by the demoness and has possibly fallen in love with her. Nevertheless, he continues his investigation undercover only to find out that all possible clues and evidence were destroyed raising even bigger suspicion. Eventually, the whole scandal gets exposed.
There were many shots, scenes and sequences in the film that wowed the audience. The cinematography was beautifully done. Jigme Tenzing, the man behind the beautiful imagery of Hema Hema has once again managed to visually entreat us to a breath-taking scenery and stunning composition of lights and shadows. The fact that the film manages to maintain the dark, desaturated and gloomy look combined with the air of suspense and pessimism almost gives it a feel of a film noir.
Contributed by Bishnu Kumar,
visual effects artist and a humour blogger commonly known as Creative Donkey. He regularly blogs on www.bhutanpundit.com