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Development Fund



Gross National Happiness

Arun BHATTARAI

  • Bhutan
  • 75min
  • DCP
  • color

Synopsis

In a faraway country, Happiness Agents work for the Ministry of Gross National Happiness. They collect data for the Happiness Survey in order to create 5-year-happiness plans to increase the Happiness Index of society. It is hard to imagine that a country like this exists in our modern world, but in Bhutan, everything is about Happiness! The film follows two Happiness Agents, Amar and Gunaraj, who are an odd couple, the Bhutanese Laurel and Hardy. Through their journey, we encounter everyday people from different social classes who also become the subject of our inquiry into their personal stories of searching for happiness. While Gunaraj is a serious family man, Amar is a relentless romantic, who dreams about finding a wife. His job is to document happiness in the lives of others while he is in search of his own. Meanwhile, through the national TV we see GNH history from the kings’ speeches or the often cheesy GNH songs and programs. This film is a heart-warming, multi-layered exploration of what happiness means to individuals, as opposed to what it means to a nation. It questions happiness rankings in general, but on a personal level it searches for happiness in the smallest of places.

Director's Statement

When I was growing up, I couldn’t escape listening to Gross National Happiness. We were taught ‘GNH’ in schools, watched about it on TV and even celebrated the National Happiness Day, but I never questioned it. Recently when I stepped out of Bhutan for the first time, I realized that it was mostly known abroad because of this development paradigm. I was often asked about GNH but I failed to explain or understand what it takes for a small country like Bhutan to shape its national identity based on ‘happiness.’ Bhutan is considered to be a mysterious country fantasized as the last ‘Shangri-la’. That’s why I thought, I must give a local insight into GNH through personal stories to show a more complex vision about Bhutan. In the awakening of a new pandemic which is scrambling the world right now, it is important to produce stories with uplifting, heart-warming potential that reminds the audience of the real values of our lives. I believe that is one of our responsibilities as artists.

Director

  • Arun BHATTARAI

     

Credit

  • Producer아룬 바타라이 Arun BHATTARAI