It is caravan time in Dolpo, high in the Himalayas of Nepal. The villagers must trek for days across the mountains with laden yaks to trade their salt for grain. But when Karma (Gurgon Kyap) returns to the village with the body of Lhakpa, leader of the caravan and son of the old chief Tinle (Thinlen Lhondup), the new chief blames Karma for the death, and will not allow him to lead in Lhakpa's place. Though Tinle's grandson, Tserin (Karma Wangiel), is far too young to lead the tribe, Tinle simply renames him Passang - a chief's name - and prepares him to lead the caravan.
 

By
David Stratton

3.5
A big screen experience.

In a remote village in the Himalayas, the wheat crop isn't sufficient to feed the people; salt has to be transported across the mountains and sold in order to survive. On the latest expedition, the old chief's son has died; Tinle, the chief, refuses to accept Karma, the obvious choice for leader, instead insisting his small grandson, Pasang, be the new village headman – this leads to a conflict during the next, dangerous, trek across the mountains.

The story of Himalaya is a timeless on. French director Eric Valli tells it like a legend, and it's one he knows well – a travel-writer and short filmmaker, he obviously loves this remote part of the world and the people who live here. It's a simple but quite affecting saga – the film's main pleasures lie in the way it looks. This is definitely a big screen experiences – the images of this mountainous landscape are always impressive, especially in one notable scene – evoking The Wages of Fear – in which the villagers, taking a short cut on a crumbling narrow track high above an azure blue lake, find themselves in considerable danger. The mostly non-professional actors give totally convincing performances.

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Details

PG
1 hour 44 min

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