Fairytale Of Kathmandu

Fairytale Of Kathmandu


Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

The documentarian's art is a tricky one. To make a film, almost all would start with a premise - after all, there are few who will fund you in advance to go and shoot something you think may, possibly, hold a story? But what if your premise turns out to be wide of the mark?

That is exactly what happened to filmmaker Neasa Ni Chianain when she set out to make a film about Irish poet Cathal O'Searcaigh after being invited to go with him on one of his annual pilgrimages to his "spirtual home" of Nepal.

Chianain says she "admired and trusted him and believed in his work in Nepal to assist young students there with their education".

She adds: "I was captivated by the idea of this gay man finding a sense of belonging in a completely different environment, with this Nepalese family that he now called his own."

Chianin's sense of disquiet steadily grows through the course of this very trim film - a disquiet which echoes in the viewer's mind, too, as youth after youth falls within O'Searcaigh's influence. These are not children, but only just young men - most hovering around the 16 or 17-year-old mark - and as 50-year-old O'Searcaigh showers them with gifts and many visit him in his room, moral warning bells begin to sound.

Is it right that wealth brings power - and how should that power be used? These are all questions probed by Chianin and she, too, comes to question the motives of a man she has long admired. That she has the courage to chase 'the story' rather than take the easier and expected route is to be commended and and she is also to be praised for, right up until the last, just presenting the evidence and letting the viewer decide where they stand within this particularly grey area.

Reviewed on: 17 Jun 2008
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Following an admired writer to his spiritual home in Nepal leads to a difficult discovery.

Director: Neasa Ni Chianain

Year: 2007

Runtime: 60 minutes

Country: UK, Ireland


EIFF 2008

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