Valley of Flowers
Nalin Pan :: France, Germany, India :: 2004 :: 2h
A mystic love story which originates high in the Himalayas amongst the 19 century silk routes. When Jalan (played by the beautiful and enigmatic Mylène Jampanoï) lays her eyes on a bandit leader Ushna, who is working through a personal vendetta against the world, she falls crazy in love. Her determination to win over the renegade Ushna, who is still rough along the edges, pays off. Their love story takes on epic proportions as they are lunged through a Buddhist inspired reality.
If you are expecting a tale like the director’s previous film Samsara, then think again. Where the first movie traced buddhism in the real world, as you might expect from a cosmopolitan director sharing his life’s time between France and India, this second tale is completely anchored in mythology. It deviates from the rational norm to explore with a poetic license and beauty.
The Valley of Flowers in the movie is presented as the Nirvana they aspire to reach through their love, but their progress through space and time works out differently to their expectations. A rebellious recklessness and denial of the temporal mortal life leads them into a pain and suffering for their love. The movie becomes too cryptic for my Western eyes, unfortunately, but that did not dispel the pleasure of implication in their ordeal.
It is curious and uncustomary to watch a tale which seems fit for an epic poem. The temptation to interpret the film alternates with just enjoying the sheer stunning beauty of the film. There are ‘imperfections’ scattered around which could have been worked away with a little more editing, but never mind that. Do not hesitate to enroll in this escapade if you have a chance, it is worth it.
NB Book in advance – playing in too few cinema’s in Paris to match the public demand.