Tero (Leo Honkonen), a young Finnish man, walks across Nepal and India. After exploring the Nepalese Himalayas, he takes a train down to India. There he meets Michelle (Poornima Kirby), ...
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Tero (Leo Honkonen), a young Finnish man, walks across Nepal and India. After exploring the Nepalese Himalayas, he takes a train down to India. There he meets Michelle (Poornima Kirby), another Westerner - A meeting over a cup of chai that changes his journey in every way.Written by
How to ask the right questions to understand life.
Eero Heinonen's short film debut Walker (2012) is an intelligent piece of art, discretely but intriguingly involving the spectator in protagonist Tero's quest for answers. In three chapters symbolising different stops on his physical and cognitive way, the film follows Tero almost 2000km through Nepal and India. Leo Honkonen gives Tero a very thoughtful, sometimes melancholic, though always inquisitive and never resigned appearance. After returning from the Himalaya, he meets American marketing consultant Michelle, matter of factly but charmingly interpreted by Poornima Kirby, on a long train ride. Michelle represents the Western world view that seems to be necessary for Tero to see the whole picture and to deduct his answers.
The whole film seems to be about questions and answers: answers one did not want to hear, correct answers to wrong questions, questions which are not spoken out loud, questions which remain unanswered, how to ask the right questions, personal questions the spectator will ask himself.
After a long walk up into the mysteriously beautiful, harsh but peaceful world of the Himalaya, Tero reaches the village of Thulo Shyafru. The many short scenes depicting him lonely in the mountains are convincingly supported by a mixture of on-screen sounds and off-screen music, which let the spectator take part in the protagonist's experiences and emotions. In Thulo Shyafru, a monk explains the wheel of life according to the Buddhist world view. Here, Tero speaks for the first time wondering about the spatial separation between the depiction of humans and the depiction of happiness: "Are the human beings not happy?" receiving an answer he did not want to hear.
When Tero meets Michelle on the train, he has already changed from the only passively perceiving character from the beginning to a more actively inquiring and also reporting character. Michelle is depicted as a tough but charming person apparently having an answer to everything until Tero asks two simple and honestly meant questions.
The spectator has to wait half through the film until Michelle finally asks Tero the one question that had been in the air all along: "What are you doing here?" only to hear Tero say "Just walk", a correct answer to the wrong question. Later Michelle knows better and asks "Did you find anything out there yet?" which remains unanswered in the dialogue. Tero's actions however make clear that the answer is "yes" and once again one has to admit that this was not the essential question to ask. In the end the spectator is left with more questions than answers and cannot help but envy Tero for his insights. This will make the short film interesting for many more times to watch.
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