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Friday, Oct. 24, 2008

Film fest offers the Himalayas


Staff writer

The stunning snow-capped mountains of the Himalayas are certainly a joy to behold — or, for some, to climb. For those not up to the cost or exertion of such an endeavor, the Himalaya Film Festival from Nov. 1 to 3 offers an experience in armchair mountaineering.

News photo
A scene from "Farther Than the Eye Can See," a film by Michael Brown about the world's first blind man to scale Everest, that will screen at the Himalaya Film Festival in Tokyo.

Stretching about 2,400 km from Nanga Parbat in Pakistan to Namche Barwa in Tibet, the vast Himalayan range also cuts through China, Bhutan, Nepal and India. Apart from its majestic beauty — the loftiest range includes the world's highest peak, Mount Everest (8,848 meters) — and rich culture, the region is facing various issues: religious and ethnic conflicts, poverty and environmental problems.

Such topics will be explored in this three-day event, organized by Himalaya Archief Nederland and Himalaya Archive Japan, showcasing 30 documentaries from around the world, of which 21 are in English with Japanese subtitles.

For those who wish to indulge themselves in breathtaking views and inspiring expeditions, there's "Farther Than the Eye Can See" by Michael Brown, a story about the world's first blind man to scale Mount Everest. The film follows the climber as he overcomes vast glaciers, vertical walls and many other obstacles. Also full of striking scenery is "The Fatal Game," by James Heyward, which follows the tragic expedition of two New Zealand mountaineers who, after they reached the summit of Mount Everest, realized it was too late to descend.

There's also "Meltdown," a film by Richard Heap that explores global warming issues and examines their impact on the Himalayas, where huge glaciers are melting, causing untold problems for many. The documentary follows a United Nations trip to examine the alarming rise in glacial melt in Nepal.

Other films to be shown include "Call it Karma," by Jeoff Browne, a story about a young Tibetan monk who is sent on a pilgrimage to walk 1,600 km from his remote mountain village to the sacred lands of India; and "Riding Solo to the Top of the World" by Gaurav Jani, about the director's lone motorcycle journey from Bombay to the Changthang Plateau in Ladakh, India — one of the world's most remote places.

The Himalaya Film Festival will screen at the National Olympic Memorial Youth Center in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, a 10-minute walk from Sangubashi Station on the Odakyu Line. Tickets per section (one section includes 1 to 3 films) are ¥1,500 (all the tickets are sold only through Ticket PIA 0570-02-9999 (P-code: 460170). For the full schedule and more information, visit www.himalayafilmfestival.jp


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