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Seasons in the Sun

Friday 8 April 2011

The morning slots at AIFF are always a challenge. Will the film be sufficiently captivating to keep one awake and engrossed, or will one’s viewing companion need to apply the Poke of Wakefulness?

Summer Pastures, a full-length documentary about a nomad couple in Tibet, kept me involved and entertained the whole way through. It’s the story of a young couple, yak-herders, during one season’s summer pasturing in the Tibetan highlands. In Tibet, the highlands are really high–15,000 feet above sea level. Most of us would have trouble with hypoxia at that altitude, but these kids–they can’t be much over 25, if that–with one baby in tow, have set up their tent and are keeping their small herd of yaks as their main source of income and sustenance. While it’s not a particularly dangerous life, it seems hard to the nearby village-dwellers who have little respect for the largely illiterate nomads.

This is not a drama-queen piece. Tents don’t blow over in the night, no one dies during the filming, the authorities don’t roust the nomads from their pasture. It is a visually intense film, with the landscapes of Tibet and the herders decorations in their tents featured.

Recommended. I hope this one makes it to Britt later in the year; it would play well on the really big screen. 4 out of 5.

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