The Cup

The Cup DVDThe celebrated breakthrough film by Tibetan Buddhist lama Khyentse Norbu

Buddhism is their philosophy…soccer is their religion!


“A beautiful, funny, moving film.” –Martin Scorsese
“wit, charm and wisdom…positively inspirational.” –David Parkinson, Empire
“A very funny movie!” –A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“An amazingly original and exhilarating film.” –Hannah Brown, New York Post
“an eye-opening journey.” –Robert W. Welkos, Los Angeles Times
“A wonderful and delightful comedy.” –Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
“the best glimpse of the cloistered Tibetan Buddhist culture yet to make it to the screen.” –Jeffrey Wachs,


  • Official Selection Directors Fortnight Cannes Film Festival
  • Official Selection Hong Kong International Film Festival
  • Winner FIPRESCI Prize Pusan International Film Festival
  • Official Selection Toronto Film Festival
  • Official Selection International Buddhist Film Festival
  • Official Selection Sundance Film Festival


Prayer. Meditation. Rituals. Soccer?

World Cup soccer fever sweeps into a remote Himalayan monastery and centuries-old traditions are threatened—the young monks will do just about anything to watch the final match, posing a unique challenge to the venerable lamas in charge. An inspiring tale of colliding cultures, midnight escapades and daring secret plots.


Bhutanese filmmaker Khyentse Norbu is one of the most important incarnate lamas in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition today. Known more widely by his ecclesiastical title, H.E. Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse Rinpoche, he was recognized at the age of seven as the incarnation of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1820–1892), a great religious reformer and saint who played a pivotal role in the revitalization and preservation of Buddhism in Tibet in the 19th century.

As the living heir to the Khyentse lineage, Khyentse Norbu exemplifies a non-sectarian spirit. His rigorous training in the Buddhist classical tradition, mixed with a deep interest in the film medium, makes him one of the most provocative interpreters of Tibetan Buddhism today. In keeping with his lineage, he has sought to bridge both old and new, and east and west.

Authenticity in The Cup was paramount for Khyentse Norbu, and he chose Chokling Monastery, situated in a Tibetan refugee settlement nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas, as the main location for the film.

The cast was mainly drawn from members of the monastery and none had any acting experience whatsoever, and most did not understand English. As Khyentse Norbu’s script was written in English, no scripts were passed out in advance of the day’s shoot and all actors were briefed scene-to-scene. Dialogue was prompted and memorized on the spot, and most scenes were completed within three takes or less—a testament to the actors’ monastic discipline and concentration.

Khyentse Norbu continues to serve as throne-holder of the Dzongsar Monastery in Derge, eastern Tibet, and as spiritual director of two meditation centers, in East Bhutan and in Sikkim; and two Buddhist philosophy colleges, in India and in East Bhutan. In recent years, with the increase of his teaching activities, Khyentse Norbu has set up several Buddhist centers around the world, including retreat centers in Canada and in Australia, and numerous practice communities in Southeast Asia and Europe. His second feature film is Travellers & Magicians.

Inspired by a true story
Filmed on location at Chokling Monastery, India
Vibrant 16:9 transfer direct from film to HD master


  • Inside The Cup (adapted from Life As Cinema by Anika Tokarchuk)
  • Director’s commentary
  • Printed production notes and interview with Khyentse Norbu
  • 10 Buddhist film trailers



94 min / Color / Tibetan with English subtitles / Stereo / NTSC / Region 1
SRP $29.95
A portion of the net proceeds from sales of this DVD will benefit Khyentse Foundation.