DVD Review: The Cup

The Cup
Fine Line Features/ Festival Media

The Cup is an innocent story of a childish infatuation, soccer. Filmed in India at the Chokling Monastery, The Cup tells the tale of Orgyen, a young monk who has been exposed to the game of soccer. Not only has he become infatuated with the sport, which is more than evident by the posters of his heroes plastered in his room, but he has made many other monks in the monastery fans of the sport as well.

For nights in a row, Orgyen and a few monks manage to ditch from the monastery to view matches at a local viewing place. One night, upon their return, they are caught. Immediately the fear of expulsion from the monastery is felt, and the monks are left in limbo until their fate is revealed.

All the while, a second story-line plays out. Being a Tibetan monastery in exile, the monastery receives many refugees making the perilous journey from Tibet through the Himalayas to India. Some of the elder monks are worried about two young boys they are expecting. They bring in the local “fortune teller” to see if he can tell if the boys are ok. The boys do eventually make it, a bit tired, but the trek was successful They are ordained on the spot and rooms are chosen for them. The older of the two boys ends up bunking with Orgyen, and with this is taught the ropes of soccer ad it’s importance to Orgyen and the other monks.

After receiving their punishment, one month of cooking, the boys forget the punishment and start thinking of schemes to watch the final match of the World Cup. Without becoming to much of a spoiler for the movie, the boys try to raise money in order to rent a satellite dish and convince the abbott of Chokling to let them view the match. While raising money it is clear they will not have enough and have to turn to one of the two boys who recently arrived and ask him to let them “borrow” one of his prized possesions in order to make everyone else happy.

The story of soccer may not seem to have much of a lesson, maybe that even monks have attachments, but the kicker is the “borrowing” of the item, the importance it has to the boy and how Orgyen ends up feeling after “borrowing” said item and worrying about how he will get it back for the boy.

The Cup is based on a true story experienced by writer/ director and Tibetan Lama, Khyentse Norbu. All the actors are monks from the monastery in which is was filmed. There are comedic parts of the movie, beautiful cinematography via the location and a moral. There is a great bonus on the DVD called “Inside The Cup” where Khyentse Norbu talks about his ideas behind filming The Cup, his teaching the Dharma and more.

I dug up the following trailer, hope you’ll try this movie out, I think you’d all enjoy it!


  1. Great review! You keep bringing up all these movies that I’ve never heard of before, which is good. My movie life has been stale =). Keep it up!

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