Set during the small Himalayan country’s transition from monarchy to parliamentary democracy, “The Monk and the Gun” offers a sly satire of today’s polarized world. Written and directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, and focusing on Bhutan’s preparations for the democratic elections first held in 2008, it shares the same wry spirit and gentle tension between tradition and modernity that characterized the Bhutanese-born, American-trained filmmaker’s heartwarming Oscar-nominated 2019 film, “Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom,” but with some added bite.
But there are other lessons to learn in this sweet, off-kilter comedy.
America is a nation where there are more guns than people, as another character notes, in sharp contrast with the film’s setting, where obtaining one rusty firearm is difficult enough. (It’s no accident that the gun in dispute dates to a historic American conflict.)