Valley of Flowers (2006) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
15 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Great Movie!!
sophie-desouza28 July 2006
A fantastic film to enjoy and inspire. Valley of Flowers has gorgeous male lead and two lovely leading ladies. On their trail is Yeti, played by famous star Naseeruddin Shah. Pan Nalin has a talent for discovering talent; in Valley of Flowers he gives a break to French-Chinese Mylene Jampanoi (watch out Zhang Zyi and Sophie Marceau!!) and Japanese Eri.

Vertigenous landscapes and skyscrapers, superb casting, sublime costumes, subtle lighting and mysterious music makes Valley of Flowers an exceptional cinematic experience.

The story, warning -stay awake! Nalin does not give you all answers, he tells you his story in riddles. The film is a great long saga running full 2 hours and 35 minutes, from early 19th century to contemporary Japan. Allow your mind to be open to feel this mind blowing film.

It successfully encompasses themes of love and sacrifice, mortality and karma. It starts like an "Eastern" (a Western from the East) and towards the end drifts into poetic Asian images.

Given the length and the content of the movie, it is likely to suffer distribution problem. Besides Valley of Flowers invents its own "genre" -thus it is non-classifiable.

It is not often that such films are made, slightly ahead of its time -Valley of Flowers will neither be commercial enough for Hollywood nor "arty" enough for auteur driven festivals.

But Valley of Flowers, personally speaking, will have an important role to play in evolution of Indian and Asian cinema.

Don't miss it!
31 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Original, Brave and Brilliant!
Fulton200713 January 2007
Yesterday I had an opportunity to attend the private screening of integral version of Valley of Flowers (155minutes!!) in the "chick" Planet Hollywood on Champs-Elysees in Paris. The film made huge impact on me. A week earlier I saw The Fountain (2006) by Darren Aronofsky. I liked the Fountain as well but it is Valley of Flowers sent my brain spinning.

The reason I mentioned the Fountain is because I was struck by the similarities of the theme in these two movies –love across ages, death and immortality, man's fight against time… Human beings in constant state of seeking equilibrium in love, life, nature and human nature.

Both Aronofsky and Nalin are known for invading the unknown realms of the real and surreal world. Though Valley is just a second feature of Pan Nalin, but the maturity he displays in handling of his subject matter is truly astounding. Valley of Flowers is truly an independent film compare to giant 35million dollar Fountain with star cast. Fountain is witnessing a vast release worldwide. Meanwhile Valley might not even make it to our domestic screen here in US. However, It is Nalin's film, which stirred me so deep, I felt a true sense of unearthing and that made me write, my very first comment on IMDb.

I know nothing about Buddhism or Yeti or Tibet or Himalaya. But that did not matter; the film gave me enough to chew. Of course the Himalayan parts are breathtaking, like in his earlier Samsara (2001), but here the "landscapes of faces" of Bandits are awesome. Costume and Production design are top-notch, aesthetics better and higher than many multi-million dollar Hollywood blockbusters.

Nalin's cinematic sense, and certain trance like camera movements are evocative; his girls are divine (even though they are playing demon). Again like in Samsara, Nalin discovers Mylene Jampanoi; a French Chinese actress gets a break to do her first feature. Nalin auditioned several hundreds across the world before discovering Mylene. Indian actor Milind Soman is less impressive but Naseeruddin Shah again proves his talent as one of the greatest actor of Asian cinema in his brilliant interpretation of yeti.

Nalin also proves his talent as an extraordinary screenwriter, he wrote both Samsara and Valley of Flowers. His cinematic structures do not follow any recognizable genre or style. His dialogs and editing is constantly breaking rules –must mention an amazing scene of hero's "time walk" in Valley of Flowers with simple cuts on pair of feet walking from early 19th century to modern day Tokyo. This scene in itself is a cinematic poetry in the realms of Rilke or Rumi.

I've been professor of Japanese Culture and society and dealt with many of the themes of Pan Nalin's movies. Nalin's portrayal of modern day Tokyo makes keen observation about existence of superstitions, demon and notion of death in Japan. Nalin manages to penetrate the layers of modern day Japanese life very effectively. Unfortunately, in the Fountain, Aronofsky fails to display similar command in scenes of ancient Spain and modern day medicine episode.

Again it is amazing coincidence how Aronofsky and Pan Nalin, both these young filmmakers chose their hero in modern times to be a Doctor. Controversial Dr. Zinelli of Dignitas of Zurich who assisted several people in their voluntary death inspires Nalin's modern day hero. Meanwhile Aronofsky's hero researches to fight cancer. Again Nalin's episode in modern day Tokyo leads to a sublime conclusion of the story where many twists are revealed, love and lovers are sacrificed -in some of the most poetic and memorable scenes in history of modern-Asian cinema.

I ask this question several times to myself why the festivals like Cannes, Venice, Berlin or Pusan have failed to highlight this talented filmmaker from India. I've been huge fan of Satyaji Ray but now nearly 50 years later there is a filmmaker emerging from India with a new voice and new style new energy - a truly modern and universal filmmaker. I am sorry to say there have been many others in between like Mira Nair or Shyam Benegal or Das Gupta –but Pan Nalin is beyond, he is in another league all together. With his two features, I have this intuition that there is something churning within this filmmaker like a volcano. The day that volcano finds voice we will witness an existence and acknowledgment of a brilliant filmmaker. Is anyone listening in Hollywood?
25 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
julie-shi28 July 2006
Valley of Flowers got me all excited, as it was the very first public screening in Delhi's packed Siri Fort Audi where audience was spilling all over the floor... Spectators were made of all races, many from abroad to participate in Cinefan. Among them India's who's-who; film stars, ministers, ambassadors, business tycoons, designers, software giants, painters, musicians, writers and loads of young people.

Film did get mixed reactions, however I did not allow myself to be influenced by other's opinion. Something strong certainly happened to me when the lights came on –as if I was coming out of hypnosis. I even forgot to give a round of applause.

The film surely has something and I haven't figured out what? At 155 minutes, it is long, has certain problems, badly subtitled and weak in parts. But I am astonished at the story, characters and cinematic style. Pan Nalin with his second feature (after Samsara) makes a very bold step in unexplored territories and comes out strong as a scriptwriter with guts, a director with exceptional talent and a filmmaker to watch out for. Just for all those reasons I have generously given 10 out of 10.

Film's plot is both, complex and simple. It might not be for everyone but it's truly worth the viewing. Rarely a theme of love, longing and immortality has been so well depicted before. Valley… is a hymn to harmony in nature, balance among demons and humans, good and evil, life and death, black and white. It is a poetic telling of reincarnation and karma.

Valley… is a magnificent house, filmmaker invites us inside with warm Asian hospitality but does not give us keys to all the doors. Now for some that will be a negative thing and for others it would be positive. Because Pan Nalin allows audience to interact with this epic love story –in honest manner.

There are breathtaking moments in Valley… like appearance of Ushna, levitated lovemaking, valley of silence, time-walk and final climax in Japan. Cinematography is superb and the casting is near perfect. Himalayan landscapes are awesome. Towards the end the entire resolution of the saga happens in modern-day Tokyo and that is destructive and divine –like most Asian myths. Pan Nalin's regard on Tokyo and Japan is very sensitive and subtle.

Watching Valley… is truly a cinematic experience of unforgettable kind –I highly recommend to those who love traveling beyond mainstream…
40 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Poetic telling of passion and compassion
wissikul18 September 2006
I am probably the only person who has seen TWO Valley of Flowers the one I saw in Delhi and second I saw today here in Turkey at the Gala premiere of Eurasian Film Festival where Valley.. is competing with some of the best films from Europe and Asia.

In Delhi I had really loved the movie -thus here in Antalya I wanted to go and see it again with friends but little did I know that the film was violently butchered down by good 40 minutes from its original version!!

Here, I disliked the film.

Does anyone know why? OR is it one of those same old song of "creative differences" where producers and distributors get to chop movies to make them commercially viable?!

If that is the case -then it is sad. Because the director's cut was long but played hypnotically well for me. The film's theme is powerful and rare. And I agree with other comments that the film will have tough time finding its audience. However I do NOT agree with the comments from ChomChom India -it sounds more like Jealousy or Bitterness then a serious comment. And ChomChom from India should not generalise, I was also present at the very same screening and me and my friends loved the picture.

Pan Nalin's Valley of Flowers would surely add a new angle to many Buddhism based movies. The whole idea of impermanence and laws of karma is portrayed in delightful modern way. Valley has Japanese MANGA like quality and interwoven web of deep Asian philosophy. The film is full of codes, most are difficult to decipher unless you pay close attention. Followers of Eastern Religion and Philosophy will be able to point out these symbols.

Another reason I loved Valley... is because it reminded me of Antonioni's "The Passenger" -the lead, Jack Nicholson plays reporter who does his time in the desert and steals identity of a dead arm trafficker. Then he meets Maria Schneider character, love blossoms and together they travel into the oblivion... Like Jelan and Usna of Valley of Flowers.

Nalin manages to render his story with shades of greys and black. He keeps on fighting with the pace like a warrior but does not succeed. However he leaves you with unforgettable impressions, poetry, ideas...

If you do get opportunity to see Valley's Director's Cut don't miss it. However, If you are going to see the butchered version of 2hr then you better visit the official website of the film ( and understand the story and background.

If not you just MIGHT not get it -like ChomChom from India.
24 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mind bending, eye overwhelming, uplifting life experience.
nealames28 April 2007
Forty plus years ago, when I sat in a third run theater on Hollywood Blvd watching Lawrence of Arabia, I knew that my life must change and that I had to get out there, into the world, and enjoy what it had to offer. Fortunately I was able to do so to a significant degree. Since that time, I have never had a cinematic experience that not only equaled it but exceeded it, in that way. The film opens in the Himilayas at 16,000' altitude and proceeds to take you higher and higher. After 2 1/2 hours you wish it would not end. Not only the landscape of the mountain passes but the real people who live there made my eyes want to be able to see more, deeper, faster with greater ability to never forget what I saw. I'm really confident that this film will stand the test of time on that issue. It is a story that I would not believe could be told on film being down and dirty exotic real life and at the same time an uplifting spiritual experience. I'll see it again as soon as they get a distributor.
20 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Love story from Asia
bilal_nuri19 September 2006
I might sound biased but first of all I love all kind of love stories in cinema.

Valley of Flowers is a great love story -the one where magic plays a role.

And I have a passion for exceptional love stories and romances. Valley of Flowers makes you dream. Its a romanticism with layers of fear -fear of life, death, demon, rebirth...

It's set in very romantic Himalayas and moves onto very seductive Tokyo. Girls are gorgeous! Guys are cool and Game is dangerous -that of human vs demon.

All that unfolds in magnificent vistas -amazing locations. The film has great production value and specially the costume design is exquisite!

Extra bonus, it is inspired from Alexandra David Neel's book. Thus it is real treat for the fan of Alexandra's dark world of magic and mysteries of Tibet and Himalayas.

In Japanese part of the movie when film slides into modern world from early 19th century, there is also a wonderful scene with BARDO (Tibetan Book of The Dead) based euthanasia.

Its great concept: what do you do once you become immortal and you can not die -help others die.

It's not so often we see in cinema Asian interpretation of love. Valley of Flowers is to be watched with open mind. It is not an easy film, mind you.

Valley of Flowers is slow and I like slow movies -I cant bear Hollywood's fast cutting any longer.

The only problem with valley of Flowers is that it is loaded with too many great ideas and concepts -many don't succeed. Maybe it is an over-ambitious adventure from writer director Pan Nalin whose SAMSARA is my all time favorite film. SAMSARA is in my list of "10 movies to watch before you die."

Sorry, Valley of Flowers is not in that list but its a brilliant attempt towards unknown. Pan Nalin is a rising sun of the east -in just two feature films he has proved talent worth of five features. I agree, he is a filmmaker to watch out for.

For Valley of Flowers; If you live on popular cinema then avoid it. But if you are in mood to let your mind do gymnastic then I would say JUST GO FOR IT! It is a rare kind of movie. It has a magic and mystery -and lots of sensuality.
23 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
are we crazy to love this film?
sacha-trofi17 March 2007
Being in St. Petersburg, in Russia of today, films like Valley of Flowers are really welcomed. Like some other viewers I did find the film long. It plays beyond two and half hours and apparently theatrical released version is shorter by some 30/40 minutes.

I've immensely enjoyed this stunning film. I'm happy to ignore the weaknesses in editing and acting but my full marks goes to its daring originality, innovative theme and unexplored locations.

Somehow, the film compelled me to return to the cinema for a second viewing. Second time, to my surprise, I enjoyed the film even more. And I did not even find it longer.

Personally, I have not heard about this director or seen any of his earlier films but one thing is certain that his command on the craft of film-making is of top level. His grasp of cinematic styles and sound design shows sensitive and perceptive mind he posses.

He truly masters the valley of silence sequence in the film. This scene alone is something one has never seen in films before. No music, no sound effects, no folyes... and the filmmaker carries the scene breathtakingly well. And manages to keep the spectators on the edge of their seat.

Another great achievement is "time walk" sequence, creation of the character of Yeti also deserves a special mention.

Two Ushnas are Devin and sexy. The ambiance of Tokyo scenes is hauntingly beautiful. The filmmaker does not waste any time by showing us cityscapes and establishing shots - instead he remains focused on Jalan's loneliness & immortality.

My favorite part is the end but should not be revealed. The last image of Yeti's feet taking a "time walk" but in the opposite direction -the nature's balance is restored- is one of the most satisfactory and subtle end in recent cinematic history.

Like others, I fail to understand why no one is talking about this film? Why is it not shown in some high profile festivals? This films deserves a big release as big as its canvas is.

I fail to understand why there is no promotion at all, except the odd and meaningless poster we have seen here in Russia?

Are we the few odd users to love this film? or we are just simply nuts.
18 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An exceptional man behind an exceptional movie.
lucy-jaoul-129 November 2006
I had recently had an occasion to discover VALEY OF FLOWERS. Lot has been said about this film. Thus I would only add that Nalin has played with very dangerous theme and cinematic structure; he comes out as truly talented director, a filmmaker with vision.

But these days the film journalism and criticism is not a pleasant place to be. It is often short sighted and fails to see a great talent behind each work.

My curiosity lead me to spend days and weeks to get hold of some of the remarkable films made by Pan Nalin prior to SAMSARA.

When Pan Nalin was barely 20 years of age, he made breathtaking 20 minute short fiction titled KHAJURAHO. This short film is excellent, has a vision, a unique vision. Shot in CinemaScope and Black and White -it is a sheer poetry in motion. Whether we like it or not a director was born that day.

Apparently Nalin made many silent shorts between the age of 16 to 20 but KHAJURAHO was the first film he was able to complete. I could not track any of his earlier works.

Later, Nalin and his crew put their lives in danger when they went to shoot NAGAS, a documentary on wildest of tribe of North-Eastern India. No filmmaker had ventured there before -and after since the Naga was made in 1995.

Similar attempt were made while making simple but bold documentaries like TULKUS or DEVADASIS.

I was surprised to read some negative criticism on the Net about recent works of Pan Nalin. Valley of Flowers is his (only) second feature!!! Come on, give this guy a break!!!

Most of the film critics failed to remember that what was the first and second films of Hitchcock, Kurosawa, Wong Kar Wai, Bergman, Antonioni.... were like???

I am not hear to defend Pan Nalin, whoever he maybe, but filmmakers in General. First and Second and even third movies of film directors are often like Soparano Singers shaping the color of his/her voice. Give those guys some time. They will master melodies which will move you to tears -if not you have a right to massacre them!

Filmmaker like Pan Nalin, if they were in Hollywood making English language movies, they would have got much better attention.

We should remember how hard it is to make an original work of cinema in Asia or Africa. Often you are not only struggling to make the film of your dream but also trying to feed the family of fifteen at same time!

Someone like Pan Nalin are gifted to give us a meaningful entertainment. They are capable of pulling the best out of Hollywood. Remember, very rarely a Hollywood director will write his own script. Nalin has proved his talent for excellent screen writing with both SAMSARA and VALLEY OF FLOWERS.

Directors like Pan Nalin are truly "International Director" in the line of Inarritu or Meirelles; They make the new cinema, new entertainment and new world we live in - a most fascinating place to be -enjoy and celebrate the life the way it is and not the way you are.
22 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Touching narrative and breathtaking cinematography
Jag8530 March 2009
I heard about this film more than a year ago but didn't get around to watching it until last week. The first thing that stands out about this movie is Pan Nalin's superb direction and breathtaking cinematography, which depicts the 19th century Himalayas like never before in the first half of the film. However, the storyline was also quite slow-paced in the first half. On the other hand, the second half of the film, which takes place in modern-day Tokyo, doesn't have such a great cinematography but the storyline moves along at a much better pace, leading up to a hard-hitting and very touching ending.

5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
ready for great remake!
tanya-mcmillan7 February 2007
I happened to see this film in Paris with few friends. The film was subtitled in French and I do not speak or read French. But to my surprise the film grabbed my attention, than slowly my mind mysteriously... as it turned poetic and touching -I was in the VALLEY OF FLOWERS, not wanting to go out and face the French arrogance...

It is almost meaningless to try to ascertain any scientific or cultural logic beneath the surface of this allegorical story inspired from Alexandra David Neel's work. Such hairsplitting will only make you lose the merit of this work.

The film commences in early 19th Century in the Himalayas, a gang of bandits wait for their attack. We are almost in Sergio Leone feel... After the attack the chief of bandit falls for a mysterious victim. Now begins a great love story as they go on pillaging silk route... Soon comes the "Sherrif" and he is going to get the "outlaws"...

Lovers after savoring material wealth leap into super-natural thefts, the chase continues... I will not reveal all but finally two centuries later, ends in Tokyo of today.

There are many themes which touches all of us, the film remains universal and will surely strike US audience with its magical spell. After all it is very modern and new age. Somewhat BABEL or THE FOUNTAIN like.

Already there is great concept, great style and great photography. This story would make a fantastic American remake. Imagine 2 centuries ago the Grand Canryon, a group of outlaws attack Navajo or Hopi Indians, One of the Outlaw falls in love with a mysterious Indian girl. Together they rob the wild west. Then comes the bounty hunter or sheriff. The chase begins. But soon the mysterious Indian girl leads our hero to supernatural robberies with voodoo and black magic of Indians thrown in -they robe vital energies, luck and ultimately they want to become Immortal. They find in a far far land a Hualapai holy man and steal from him the elixir of immortality. It works on him but she dies. Tragedy. He will live on with his suffering and longing... cut to modern day NYC where our hero is 197 years of age!!!! Isn't that great? Use your imagination and you will see this will make a superb remake about love, longing and death. I agree it is better plot than The Fountain (2006)

Sorry, writer in me took off. But that is the proof, there are rare movies in the world today which can inspire you or fire up your imagination. Do not miss Valley of Flowers, mind you it is not a perfect film, it has it weaknesses. But it is indeed a haunting film. Valley is also a philosophical journey through the ideas of life, love, loss, and hope.

Valley of Flowers provokes something very human out of its viewers. I can remember being one of the few in the audience (having had a full house in the beginning) and still watching the credits roll, sharing a strange sensation. It wasn't joy. It wasn't sorrow. It was just feeling a part of something that I can't explain, and I think just for that -this movie is something quite remarkable for being able to do that.
12 out of 23 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A great movie unseen
shashikiran-g28 December 2008
incredibly great and realistic movie, showed the real beauty of ladakh, nice story line excellent execution, lead actors looked really great but acting is bleak lead actress Mylène Jampanoï , she is amazingly beautiful. Director succeeded in holding audience attention till the end, even though length of the movie is very long but i never felt bored or off track at any point. Excellent costumes, shooting in ladakh is difficult task , really great efforts from the whole crew. I really feel this movie deserves better promotion world wide. I just came to know about this movie through the news that the lead pair got married.

I really wonder why there is no publicity for such a great movie. fate of this movie quite similar to that of ladakh - unseen and untouched beauty
3 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Spectacular landscape, but ....
who20073 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Finished this movie tonight, I have been Himalayas 3 years ago, and spend the whole great week there. The breathtaking landscape reminded me again the good time I have been stay there, the magic story made the movie and the place much more mysterious and attractive. (There is same one in China which directed by famous Yimou Zhang), maybe the eternal love is human being's dream regardless race or location.

However, honestly speaking, the last half of the movie, the scene in Japan, did make me pretty disappointed, which is different with the style of the whole movie; I was looking forward to seeing more fantastic polt when time came to modern society, their love looks weak and fake in this big city, but it ends without expectation; I felt like ate an delicious cake, choked suddenly.

Anyway, I might be back Himalayas next year, this movie made me miss the mountain and air there.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
kostov-krasimir2 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Rarely balanced and mind and heart challenging.

The two characters seem like playing Gods games. Starting in 19c HE - a robber a thief and a chief of a gang. SHE - came from nowhere without belly button, destined to stay and love HIM. Constantly going against their predestination and fate. Going against the gods stealing and robbing spiritual gems to live and keep the love they have. Finally immortality brakes them apart and gathers them for the final realization of the movie.

I would be interested to know more about the associative pictures and symbols in the movie and would appreciate if someone more familiar with that particular culture to reveal to us some part of that reality.

Very good movie indeed.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Disjointed and disappointing: 3 movies in 1
Stephen_W17 December 2007
Although I wouldn't go as far as the previous reviewer who ranked "Valley of Flowers" as low as "1", I too was very disappointed in a film that had so much going for it: great locations, beautiful cinematography and sound, and an obvious creative vision.

It's the latter that should have been reined in. What starts out as an epic fable (the mystery girl and the bandit) turns into a metaphysical morality tale (throw in the "Yeti" character) and then morphs into a sci-fi fantasy (let's leap ahead a few hundred years and cross Asia from India to Japan in the process). We are so invested in the first story -- the fable -- that the sudden leaps of genre leave us feeling cheated, as no credible emotional resolution for the characters is in sight. Somebody (you'd think the film's backers) would have said something to the writer/director in the development phase.

Apparently, no one was paying attention. With so much going for it, I left the screening at the IFFA in LA feeling so much talent and resources had been squandered. I haven't seen any other work from this director, but I hope that next time around he's able to sustain a story with an emotional arc without resorting to narrative acrobatics.
6 out of 19 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
chomchom9 September 2006
I watched this film at its international premiere in Delhi a month or so back. the hall was packed as it was the opening film of the Asian film festival.. and expectations ran high. i was personally very excited at the thought of a pan-Asian cast, a storyline that ran through centuries, a mix of Indian sensibilities with an international aesthetic...

by the middle of the film, i couldn't wait to get out of the hall! and i wasn't alone, practically the whole hall was in a tearing rush to leave.. not sure of why this completely uninspiring and flawed film had been picked to open the festival! the acting is atrocious (although the women are hot!), the plot is far-fetched and unconvincing, and the film has every stereotype imaginable as far as depiction of the spiritual side of India is concerned! it doesn't miss out on anything... there are levitating sadhus, abominable snowmen (well, almost), bandits and huurrs. yet, somehow despite all the razzmatazz and the seemingly honest intentions of the director... this is a film that fails to hold your interest beyond the excellent production design.

i haven't watched samsara.. but hear that it is a major international success, which explains how pan nalin managed to raise money for this mammoth production.. but really after watching VOF, i couldn't care less! and oh yeah, milind soman should go back to modeling... acting is just not his thing!
8 out of 41 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed