Eye For Film >> Movies >> Himalaya - L'Enfance D'un Chef (1999) Film Review
Himalaya - L'Enfance D'un Chef
Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray
With the Tibetan way of life totally under threat from Chinese colonial rule, Eric Valli's film may be the last to record the traditional trek across the mountains.
From the village of Dolpo, 5000ft up, a caravan of yaks sets forth once a year, laden with sacks of salt to be exchanged in the far off Nepalese valley for enough grain to last them through the winter.
This year is different. The old chief's eldest son has been killed in an accident while herding the animals down to the village. Karma (Gurgon Kyap), leader of the young men, assumes control, as Tinle (Thilen Lhondup), the old chief, is thought past it.
Tension between these two is heightened when Karma takes the caravan off before the date decreed by the ceremony of the bones. Tinle follows a few days later with his second son, Norbu the Lama, and his grandson, Passang, a wide-eyed boy of considerable courage, and some of the older men.
The story of this race across the Himalayas, symbolising a clash between the old ways and the new, is exhilarating enough. What lifts the film above the level of Horse Thief and Kundun is the wonder of the cinematography and the spirit of a unique people.Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001