By Diana Cheng
AAP film review
Premiering in Minnesota at the 36th MSPIFF, “White Sun” is a feature in the Asian Frontiers Program that offers viewers a rare glimpse into Nepal. Nepali director Deepak Rauniyar has crafted a gem of a film that doesn’t only offer culturally informed visuals but present a socially-minded, thought provoking scenario.
Chandra, a Maoist, returns after years of absence to his home village in Nepal for the cremation of his father. Such an occasion forces Chandra to meet his brother Suraj, who is a supporter of Nepali independence, making the brothers enemies in a bitter war. Years of traditions and religious rites stipulate that only the sons can touch their father’s body. The dead has to be carried down a mountain on a stretcher to the river where the cremation will take place. Conflicts soon break out as the brothers representing two warring sides come together, disrupting the funeral procession. The body is left on the mountain for a few days without a resolution to the feud.
Adding to the scenario is an orphan boy who tags along Chandra since his arrival to make some money by helping him carry his bags. And then there is the girl who lives with Chandra’s wife from years past, always looking for her real father. How do children come into the picture of adult conflicts and a war? The film’s surprise ending offers us a scenario of hope and resolution. “White Sun” screens April 17 and 19.