Saturday, October 27, 2012

Valley of Saints (2012) SAIFF 2012

The final review of Unseen's coverage of the South Asian International Film festival is also it's closing night film (it plays Tuesday night at 8PM).

In Kashmir two friends set out to find a better life. Heading out across the that they live on they run head long into political violence and a curfew on the far side of the lake that has stopped all transportation (including the bus that they hope to take. Stuck in the community for a few days they come in contact with a young woman studying the water in the lake. A relationship forms between one of the men and the woman that will alter how he sees the world.

The first thing you'll notice is that this is a beautiful film. Each image is the sort of thing that would look lovely on any wall. That's not a knock, rather this is the sort of film that I'd want to put on just so I could see beautiful pictures. The ability to see the images on a theater size screen is reason enough to see this film.

The film beyond the images is best described as a meditation on ecology, politics and the places we call home. It's a heady mix of ideas that never fully comes together with a bit too much talk of ecology, or rather the wrong sort of talk with the script frequently breaking the sense of this being a dramatic narrative and instead climbing up on a soap box to preach. The high handedness isn't fatal but it makes an otherwise excellent film just a good one instead.

On the other hand I suspect that anyone seeing this on a big movie screen, as it should be seen, is not going to feel as I did watching the film on a TV screen since the sheer beauty of the landscape will put things back into balance.

The film is playing only once Tuesday at the SVA theater on 23rd Street and it's worth plunking down the extra couple of bucks to see this at the SAIFF Closing Night Gala.

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