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Himalaya (Himalaya: l'enfance d'un chef)

Threat advisory: High - High risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

In a world of breathtaking beauty unfolds a classic tale of wisdom and adventure.

In a far-flung village in the Dolpo, in the north-western Himalayas, at an altitude of 5000 metres, Tinle (Thilen Lhondup), a charismatic old chieftain, whose eldest son has just died, refuses to allow the young Karma (Gurgon Kyap) to lead the yak caravan.

Karma goes against the oracles and Tinle's anger: before the ritual date he leads the caravan away followed by the young men from the village. On the day fixed by the gods Tinle, assisted by his second son Norbou/Urgien (Karma Tensing) the lama, his grandson Pasang (Karma Wangel) and his old companions decides against all reason to set off in his turn. Then the ancestral duel between man and mountain begins.

The only earthly wealth of the sturdy peasants who live in the village are the salt deposits of upper Tibet, salt which they extract and swap each year for grain, far, very far, beyond the vast mountains, in the lower Nepalese valleys. This hazardous annual crossing tests the courage of one and all and transforms these simple peasants into heroic caravan drivers. Through difficult trails where each step taken could be fatal, men, women and children accompany huge herds of yaks. During weeks and even months, they will struggle against the cold, harsh winds and avalanches - all the traps of a violent and excessive nature.

Persons of interest

  • Thilen Lhondup .... Tinle
  • Gurgon Kyap .... Karma
  • Lhakpa Tsamchoe .... Pema
  • Karma Wangel .... Passang
  • Karma Tensing .... Norbou/Urgien
  • Labrang Tundup .... Labrang
  • Jampa Kalsang Tamang .... Jampa
  • Tsering Dorjee .... Rabkie
  • Rapke Gurung .... Tundup
  • Pemba Bika .... Tensing
  • Karma Chhewang .... Meme/Paljor
  • Tenzen Charka .... Chopga
  • Yangzom .... Dawa
  • Gyalsen Gurung .... Chewan
  • Phuti Bika .... Deld
  • Sangmo Gurung .... Angmo
  • Nathalie Azoulai .... Screenwriter
  • Olivier Dazat .... Screenwriter
  • Louis Gardel .... Screenwriter
  • Jean-Claude Guillebaud .... Screenwriter
  • Eric Valli .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Struggle.

If you thought that Little Aussie Battlers were doing it hard down on struggle street, you ain't seen nothing yet. Himalaya drops you right into the life or death world of pen-ultimate poverty. Only an orphan in a refugee camp on the border of their home country, their worldly goods nothing more than starvation and a shadow is further down the food chain. Himalaya takes away the relaxed and comfortable lifestyle of a first world country and makes you live in a world beset by gods, fate, hunger and death.

Cool.

The actors are not experienced in the craft of film performance, so that makes things a little raw at times, but their familiarity with the situation (them being from the region) gives their characterisations an honesty that all the craft in the world cannot duplicate. The cinematography ranges from as almost dogmatic grittiness to scenes so unbearably beautiful that you will weep.

If you're an art film kind of person then Himalaya is a film for you.

Security censorship classification

PG (Adult themes)

Surveillance time

104 minutes (1:44 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

DVD retail: Undated November 2001

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