Yak, Yak, Yak
Release Date: March 30, 2001
Starring: Thinlen Lhondup, Karma
Wangiel, Lhakpa Tsamchoe, &
Rating: Not Rated
Runtime: 104 minutes
Distributor: Kino International
Director: Eric Valli
Producer: Jacques Perrin & Christophe
Writer: Olivier Dazat & Eric Valli
Address Comments To:Donald Krum, President
333 West 39th Street
New York, NY 10018
Phone: (212) 629-6880
Fax: (212) 714-0871
Web Page: www.kino.com
HIMALAYA is the story of a generational power struggle over the leadership of a tiny mountain village. One man, a proud but old chief, defends the gods and traditions while the other man, a young and fit hiker, believes religion is worthless and instead relies on his own wisdom and experience. A struggle ensues between man and nature during an annual caravan across the mountains to exchange salt for grain. Not everyone will return home alive.
While a movie about these issues could be interesting and even redeeming for Christian viewers and other moviegoers, HIMALAYA fails to inspire and, more often than not, portrays religion as lucky superstition. Sadly, this is actually intended to encourage young people to believe in the old ways of their ancestors and not question the wisdom of the gods.
After a pivotal scene wherein the old chief practices divination, the younger man will come to believe that trusting the gods is safer than relying on his own abilities. Ironically, the younger man saves the life of the old chief while distrusting the divination. Thus, HIMALAYA tries to reach the heights of storytelling in an epic fashion, but the plot is seriously injured when it trips on its own teachings.
The music in HIMALAYA consists mainly of one song, repeated ad nauseam throughout the movie. While beautiful one time or possibly two, it served as a later reminder that HIMALAYA is a long journey indeed. Painfully, the volume of the song is sporadically raised to deafening levels to heighten suspense.
Early on, HIMALAYA also focuses on a young boy who struggles to choose which leader to trust. The viewer will sympathize with his complaint in the script, “We keep walking but never arrive.”
HIMALAYA is the first feature film of National Geographic photographer Eric Valli. Perhaps he intended to defend the adage that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. HIMALAYA features a cast of mostly non-professionals, a landscape that is far from attractive and a storyline that is excruciatingly slow. This rocky journey is also filled with themes of false religions, occultism and superstition and anti-Biblical beliefs and practices. It encourages young people to believe in the old ways of their ancestors & not question the wisdom of the gods