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2. Sing Me A Song; movie review

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Title : 2. Sing Me A Song; movie review
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Cert PG
99 mins
BBFC advice: Contains mild bad language, brief references to sex and violence

I have been a devotee of Dogwoof which specialises in documentary film distribution for more than a decade.
It has been a byword for quality and has widened my mind on myriad levels.
Thus, I have rarely been as disappointed in one of its films as I was in Thomas Balmès's Sing Me A Song.
To put it bluntly, neither Mrs W nor I could believe it was a genuine documentary and that Balmès had not persuaded his subjects to take certain actions.
Regardless of our suspicions, there were still great swathes of the movie which required explanation.
Balmès returned to the Himalayas for this follow-up to Happiness, a film of a decade ago.
He finds that one of his eight-year-old subjects of that movie, Peyangki, is struggling through his training to be a Buddhist monk in a remote village in Bhutan.
His studies are suffering because, rather incongruously, he spends hours on the WeChat smartphone app, ordering love songs from a singer (Ugyen) who lives in the city of Thimphu. 
At no point is it explained how the students have come by the phones of, indeed, why the elders allow them unfettered access.
Anyway, Peyangki complements chatting to girls with violent video games. And, yes, I also thought peace and love would have been top of the Buddhist agenda.
I digress.
Simultaneously, Balmès follows Peyangki's girlfriend in the nightclub where she sings and at home.
We couldn't understand how he would have known to do that and earwig conversations about her feelings for Peyangki if this had been a genuine documentary.
Indeed, she appears in many scenes (including one with a man who thinks she is a prostitute) which seem unlikely if they had not been set up.
The truth is that we might have been brought into Sing Me A Song if we had understood its context.
For example, why did Peyangki's teachers agree to its filming if they knew he was behind on his studies? 
And what was in being filmed for Ugyen or Peyangki?
Far far too many questions and not enough answers for us.

Reasons to watch: Touches on the culture of Bhutan
Reasons to avoid: Too many unanswered questions

Laughs: None
Jumps: None
Vomit: None
Nudity: None
Overall rating: 5/10

Did you know?  Gross National Happiness or sometimes called Gross Domestic Happiness is a philosophy that guides the government of Bhutan. It includes an index which is used to measure the collective happiness and well-being of a population. Gross National Happiness Index is instituted as the goal of the government of Bhutan in the Constitution of Bhutan, enacted on 18 July 2008.

The final word. Thomas Balmès: "I first toured the country and discovered this village, Laya, 4,000 meters above sea level and a three-day walk from the first road. A village without electricity, nor any link with the rest of the world. I met a child there with a special energy that was running around. It was Peyangki. The idea of ​​being able to attend his first encounters with this modernity and to film them is the primary reason for my desire to make this film." 

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