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Many of the directors at Cannes want to be treated like royalty or religious icons, but only one this year is really entitled to that approach.

The Tibetan-language “The Cup,” which premiered in the Directors Fortnight, is directed by Buddhist monk Khyentse Norbu, who serves as the throne-holder of the Dzongsar Monastery in Derge, Eastern Tibet.

A press release describes him as “one of the most important incarnate lamas in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition today.”

The film is a comedy about Buddhist monks obsessed with soccer, so there may be some sort of bizarre logic in the fact that it appeals to people who live in the land of cuckoo clocks: Among the first buyers for the pic is Universal Pictures Intl.’s Swiss subsid Monopole Pathe.

UPI insiders say Switzerland is an exceptional territory for anything with a Nepalese theme — Brad Pitt’s “Seven Years in Tibet” was a wow in Switzerland, though it saw disappointing box office almost everywhere else. Clearly the two small countries with big mountains have a surprising amount in common.

Other companies that have jumped on “The Cup” bandwagon include Solpan for distribution in Poland; Pyramide for France; SHP for Israel; Paradiso for Benelux and Lucky Red for Italy.