Dir/scr: Jeon Soo-il. SK. 2008. 95mins.
Starring Old Boy’s Choi Min-sik, Himalaya, Where The Wind Dwells works best as a travelogue, setting a Korean businessman on the road to the distant Nepalese village of Sharkot. Kim Sung-tai’s images of a stark life and landscape could see this film find a place on the festival circuit, but narratively, Himalaya is as aimless as its protagonist and commercial prospects are as remote as his mountain destination.
Businessman Choi (Choi) is suffering some sort of personal crisis - he may have been fired at work. When he is informed that an illegal immigrant called Dorje who he has helped find work at his brother’s factory, has been killed in a traffic accident, Choi decides to visit the family in Nepal.
It’s a spur-of-the-moment decision. He is ill-prepared for the expedition and suffers from morning sickness. Almost 30 minutes go by before Choi has any proper dialogue and as the protagonists do not share a language, the spoken word is minimal throughout. On arrival in Sharkot, Choi stays with Dorje’s wife and sons; he gives them money but signals to them that Dorje is well.
Having set the scene, Himalaya ambles slowly to a conclusion, more enamoured of the images onscreen than any development of the scenario or fleshing out its protagonist. Local lead Tsering Gurung, as Dorje’s wife, gets much camera time, but she is treated, as with all the local characters, as though she’spart ofa documentary. Choi’s face is expressive and watchable, but even he cannot overcome the challenges of this piece.
Dong Nyuk Film
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