Little Bhaktapur

Sorry I have fallen behind with these.

When we were in Bhaktapur (Nepal), we witnessed a film crew shooting some scenes for some local production. This jarred a memory from the previous year…..


Sitting in the living room of our apartment in Greenwich with Karen’s Aunt Rez (visiting from Brussels), when she told us of her trip to Bhaktapur with one of her school tours (Rez used to work as a teacher in Singapore). She said that when the group arrived in Bhaktapur there was a flurry of activity – a film crew.Cameras, cables, people directing other people, makeup artists, lights. As her and her charges watched on from the sidelines a lone man emerged from the throng and walked towards them. He said that he needed everyone to be quiet and if they could do that then they could watch the filming.

The year was 1992. The film was called ‘Little Buddha’, and the man was none other than Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci (Known for Last Tango in Paris and The Last Emperor – for which he won an Oscar and Golden Globe).

Keanu Reeves receiving direction from director Bernardo Bertolucci

Keanu Reeves receiving direction from director Bernardo Bertolucci

The film was largely shot in Kathmandu and Bhaktapur,(and Bhutan). Both having similar temple designs and Durbar Squares. The plot surrounds three children and the belief that one of them is the incarnation of a great Buddhist Teacher. Whilst there are some big names amongst the cast (Bridget Fonda,Chris Isaak – yes that Chris Isaak and Keanu Reeves) the film is not that well known except in France where it did great business.

It was cool to visit a place where filming was taking place nearly 20 years after Karen’s aunt has visited and also seen filming taking place. The circle had been completed.

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