The Golden Hill

Nepal (English captions) submitted "Serdhak," a World Premier family drama at the 2015 Seattle International Film Festival. Directed by Rahan Kathet, we watch a young engineering student go back to his home in Mustang, a remote village in the Himalayas, and learn how badly his country needs to stop the flood of educated young adults who leave and never come back. This constitutes the entire plot for this mildly interesting film. The fascinating landscape and the spectacular towering peaks that surround Mustang however, are taken for granted by the locals but we couldn't take our eyes off them.

When our young man returns to the village of his birth, he encounters a young woman who turns out to be an old friend. She too, has had some higher education and agrees that stopping the brain drain is important. He shares his dreams and she seems to feel the same way. Reality strikes the village in many forms: Tradition, alcoholism, poverty and a provincial mindset.

We see how they raise their vegetables, irrigate their fields, thresh their grain, milk their cows, herd their sheep, mill their flour and entertain themselves. We join a singalong and watch them form a circle for a dance; I thought they were going to do the Hokey Pokey!

Many of us in the screening audience had an underlying question about whether or not this area was affected by the April 25th, 2015 earth- quake and the subsequent one on May 12th. I looked at my Atlas and am sad to say, it seems to be in that vicinity. The epicenter of the earthquake is about 50 miles northeast of Kathmandu and that is too close to Mustang for comfort! I've contributed aid money through an agency and hope you will too.