An aging chief's last stand, lessons for the new, and the education of a young chief-to-be played against harsh Nature in Nepal's Dolpo. When his son dies returning from Tibet's salt lakes,... See full summary »
China in the 1920's. After her father's death, nineteen year old Songlian is forced to marry Chen Zuoqian, the lord of a powerful family. Fifty year old Chen has already three wives, each ... See full summary »
An aging chief's last stand, lessons for the new, and the education of a young chief-to-be played against harsh Nature in Nepal's Dolpo. When his son dies returning from Tibet's salt lakes, Tinle blames Karma, his son's friend, refuses to give Karma his blessing as the new chief, and organizes a rival caravan to take the salt to lower Nepal to trade for grain. He, a few old men, his son's widow, his grandson, and his second son, a monk, set out on the arduous journey. Fearing storms, Karma has led his caravan out of the village before the auspicious day ordained by the lamas. Tinle's group catches Karma's before the final pass; the two stubborn men lock wills with Tinle's grandson watching. Written by
The director, in the commentary on the DVD, says that he was inspired by the book "Caravan Towards Buddha" by Andre Migot. This book was titled "CARAVANE VERS BOUDDHA" when it was published in 1954, but can now only be found under its alternate (English) title, "Tibetan Marches" (translated by Peter Fleming). See also "Au Tibet sur les traces du Bouddha (Collection Itinéraires)" by André Migot. See more »
You know, sometimes I've felt like telling the lamas where to go. A real chief always starts by disobeying.
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The simple plot, told in every culture that has any notion of the grandeur of place and power, is a grand design of human struggle and triumph, figuratively and realistically represented in the salt caravans
I have climbed up a glacier in New Zealand and down a mountain in Switzerland, and it was rough going for a middle-aged film critic. However, truly rough it can be if you're old, live in the Himalayas, and need to spend a couple of weeks taking your yak and salt to get some grain for winter survival.
Photographer Eric Valli's beautiful epic film `Himalaya' is the first Nepalese film to be nominated (in 1999) for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It is also a heroic fable of a small community's struggle to change the guard from old to young and retain the respect of the gods. The simple plot, told in every culture that has any notion of the grandeur of place and power, may deceive some into thinking this a small cliched film. It is rather a grand design of human struggle and triumph, figuratively and realistically represented in the salt caravans that still traverse the majestic Himalayan Mountains in Tibet.
When one of the caravans tries to cut off 4 days by attempting a route reserved for the devils, the ensuing danger as yaks and humans walk the narrow path is so beautiful and harrowing that my glacier experience looks now like a picnic. Blue sky above, blue water below, and a path so dangerous indeed the gods themselves would have second thoughts. Valli's cinemascope is the perfect medium to catch the overpowering mountains and miniscule stones, both instruments of the terrible powers those gods still wield in this other world.
The actors are handsome locals, and the story is right out of Shakespeare and Howard Hawks. See this film before you get too old to breathe its artistic air.
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