Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Dir: Eric Valli, 1999, Nepal (8.1*)

Filmed with non-actors and as the French director Eric Valli tells his cast in the documentary included, with the goal of preserving the story of their culture for generations to come so that we will always have a record of a disappearing way of life. The residents live in perhaps the most isolated village or our times (Dolpo region of Nepal), which is a three week trek over gorgeous Himalayan mountains from the nearest road! Their winter survival depends on their trading salt for food, necessitating their driving a caravan of yaks bearing their product to a valley somewhere over miles of forbidding mountains. The story of the making of this film is perhaps more dramatic than the story within the film; how film crews and sherpas can manage such an undertaking (much like Werner Herzog's Fitzcarraldo) and brave horrific weather defies the imagination of those of us raised in the relative comfort of urban civilization. I recommend this as a must-see for anyone interested in ancient cultures, vast mountain vistas, or beautiful weather-beaten people.


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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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