Today’s Prayer Focus

The Cup

Reviewed by: Halyna Barannik

Moral Rating: Good
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: 10 to Adult
Genre: Art/Foreign
Length: 1 hr. 34 min.
Year of Release: 2000
USA Release:
Director Khyentse Norbu in “The Cup”
Featuring Jamyang Lodro, Orgyen Tobgyal, Neten Chokling, Godu Lama, Pema Tshundup
Director Khyentse Norbu
Producer Malcolm Watson, Raymond Steiner
Distributor Fine Line Features

Filmed at a monastery in Bhutan, in the Indian Himalayas, “The Cup” is the story of Tibetan monks in exile whose sober and rigid life of prayer and study is side-tracked by their love of soccer.

Based on facts, the movie depicts the story of two young Buddhists who live their life dutifully by day as monks, but at night, become soccer fans, as they sneak out of the monastery to a house that has television reception. When two newcomers join the monastery, the leader of the group, a 12-year-old monk named Orgyen (Jamyang Lodro), encourages them to come along.

Scene from The Cup

Their night-time outings are discovered by an older monk, Geko (Orgyen Tobygal), who reports this matter to the aged abbott of the monastery (Lama Chonjor). Forbidden to leave the monastery at night again, Orgyen, who thinks and dreams soccer day and night, cannot bear not to see the final match between Brazil and France and asks the abbot for permission to get a satellite dish to watch the World Cup final. The abbot agrees and Orgyen then sets about getting television reception for the monastery.

The heart of the movie lies in the juxtaposition of ancient Tibetan ways with the sports world of 1998, and the beliefs of the elders versus the desires and needs of the youth. The movie balances all these themes clearly and makes a powerful statement about wisdom and mercy, as the abbot and the eldest monk, steeped in ancient tradition, defer to the present-day needs of their young monks over their own deeply-set customs.

This rare foreign film, set within the beauty of the Himalayan mountains, is suitable for all ages, although younger children may find it too slow. The thematic content throughout is positive and acceptable to Christian perspective on morality.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
I took my two children and their non-Christian friends to this movie (ages 11 and 8). I am a soccer coach and my children are soccer players so that is why we initially wanted to see this movie. I found it interesting to be able to talk about some of the scenes and what they meant to the kids after the movie—the philosophies of other religions of the world, choosing right vs. wrong, friendships and caring for others. It is slow-moving, but the children enjoyed the movie. It gave us the opportunity to share Christ to my children’s friends. My Ratings: [3/3]
Juliana Massenburg, age 38