Shambhala 2024

Directed by Min Bahadur Bham Journeys

How far would you go to prove yourself? Pema, accused of infidelity, embarks on a journey through the beautiful yet unforgiving Himalayan landscape to confirm her virtue.

Aug 08

Hollywood Avondale

Aug 09

The Civic

Nepal In Nepali and Tibetan with English subtitles
150 minutes Colour / DCP
Violence, coarse language, some scenes may disturb

Director, Producer


Min Bahadur Bham, Abinash Bikram Shah


Aziz Jan Baki


Liao Ching-Sung, Kiran Shrestha

Production Designer

Ram Lal Khadka

Costume Designer

Dorjee Dradhul Gurung


Nhyoo Bajracharya


Thinley Lhamo, Sonam Topden, Tenzin Dalha, Karma Wangyal Gurung, Karma Shakya, Loten Namling


Berlin, Sydney 2024


Pema resides in a polyandrous village in the Himalaya Mountains as a newlywed, with her three fraternal husbands: Tashi, her chosen beloved; Karma, a kind Buddhist; and Dawa, the youngest of the brothers, still in school. The four live in content harmony until Karma returns to the monastery and Tashi embarks on a months-long journey for resources.  

Before Tashi departs, he and Pema share an intimate night together, causing Pema to fall pregnant. Her joy rapidly becomes overshadowed when a rumour rips through the tiny village that Pema was unfaithful while Tashi was away. Word spreads to Tashi, and he doesn’t return. Determined to quash these accusations, the pregnant Pema takes it upon herself to find Tashi and prove her devotion to him. She quietly sets out on her solo journey, taking only the necessities, and Namkha, her trusty horse. 

According to Tibetian Buddhist legend, Shambhala is a kingdom of peace and prosperity that exists somewhere between the Himalayas and the Gobi Desert. It is a place for those who have achieved complete enlightenment. While we follow Pema through the stunning landscape and experience each of the spiritual rituals she encounters on her journey, we also watch as she moves further away from the surface-level civility she grew up with to embrace the raw emotion she truly feels. 

Cinephiles will make connections with Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura. As with this film, we experience a disappeared character drifting further from being the driving force of the story to become merely a memory that only serves as a catalyst for the protagonist’s true journey. However, where L’Avventura uses a character’s disappearance to highlight another character’s trifling existence, Shambhala uses a character’s disappearance to provoke a search for meaning in oneself. — Huia Haupapa