Odds & Gods

Wednesday, June 30, 2021 (In 23 days, July’s fullest moon [“Thunder”] will rise.)

Searching for something to stream, I ran across this wonderful film. It’s a story of Tibetan culture that takes us into an isolated village located in the complex Himalayas. It introduces us to tribal members, and carries us with them, and their yak herd, up and over mountains toward a destination for selling its salt harvest.

The videography is stunning, the plot and its challenges are gripping. Only two cast members are professional actors, all others are actual tribe members.

The story revolves around the sudden death of a very elderly tribal leader’s son. The old leader attempts to take on the deceased son’s work by re-establishing himself as the one most able to lead villagers and herds across the mountains. Their goal will be selling the tribe’s salt harvests for it much needed annual income.

The drama occurs because after the caravan leader’s death, a young and very able man wishes to lead the next upcoming trip across the mountains. But the deceased’s father, a very old man, wants to lead the caravan himself and refuses to yield power.

The younger potential leader is logical, has considered all elements of the drive, can explain the best route and most appropriate time to start. The old man, an experienced caravan leader, hasn’t been on a drive for many years. His worldview, less logical, has much to do with what “God says” about the trip’s correct starting time and route.

It’s impossible to tell which characters are professional actors. The entire drama proceeds seamlessly and every single character is an integral member of the group.

Himalaya, a 1999 film, was shot in widescreen over many months. It’s location is in a region reachable only on foot. Its director, Éric Valli, who has lived in Nepal since 1983 is a photographer and author.

I discovered this amazing work of art on Hulu and understand that Netflix also offers it. I recommend it very highly.

Dear Friends: This film is a tribute to humanity, it’s community, conflicts, strength, and spirit. Diana

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