Best Movie of 2005 – Himalaya

Himalaya - l'enfance d'un chef2005 is shaping up to be one of the most forgettable years for movies, especially if all you have to choose from are multiplex movies: Batman Begins, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Cinderella Man, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — and the unremarkanble list goes on and on. So I’ve decided to jump the gun and pick what I think will be the best movie I’ll see this year. (Some 2005 movies I’ve seen in the theatre that are worth taking a look at: Saint Ralph, Sin City, and House of Flying Daggers. That’s it.)

The best movie of the year for me came out six years ago: HIMALAYA. It wasn’t released on DVD until 2001, and I didn’t get around to seeing it until last night, but I was captivated. Himalaya is a beautiful film and a remarkable cultural document. It tells the compelling story of some Nepalese villagers who have to trek down the mountains to trade their mountain salt for grain while trying not to get killed along the way. The plot is simple but contains all the elements of a great story, and the backdrop provides an epic feel to every single frame of the movie.

I also watched the DVD feature, “Himalaya: The Making Of.” When you see what these people went through to make this movie, which was filmed entirely on location, with real Nepalese mountain people who you’d never suspect were non-actors, under environmental conditions that put all their lives at risk, it’s incredible the film, one of the best I’ve seen in years, was ever finished. Anyway, it’s my pick for best movie of 2005. I doubt very much I’ll see better movie this year.

About Phillip

Phillip Cairns is a beekeeper in St. John's, Newfoundland, who writes about beekeeping at mudsongs.org.

6 Replies to “Best Movie of 2005 – Himalaya”

  1. I was attracted to HIMALAYA because I’d heard the soundtrack first, and liked what I heard. A couple years ago, I did an online search for Buddhist chanting MP3s, ones I could download for free. I found a Russian site that illegally posted about 10 hours of chant music as high-quality MP3s. The entire soundtrack to HIMALAYA was there along every CD by Lama Gyurme, who I was already familiar with through Peter Gabriel’s Real World Records. The music from the soundtrack to HIMALAYA is so moving, it’s sometimes difficult to listen to the whole thing straight through. It’s not the kind of music you can just put on for background sound. It pulls you in whether you want it to or not. I find it comparable to the music produced by Peter Gabriel for such films as Birdy, The Last Temptation of Christ, and Rabbit-Proof Fence. If you liked Peter Gabriel’s Passion, you’ll probably like this soundtrack (and the movie too).

  2. Has anyone seen Crash? I hear it’s good. Unfortunately I didn’t hear a good word about it until it was gone from my local theatre. I hope it comes back. Not that I have high hopes, but almost everything in the theatre this year has sucked so bad, and will probably continue to suck, I’d like to see a half-decent movie for a change.

    “Batman Returns,” which is not a great movie, has been getting favourable reviews because next to all the other crap movies out there, it doesn’t look too bad. But that’s doesn’t make it good.

    Anyone have any video rental recommendations?

  3. corporation is interesting, and out on a limb..I had no idea what this was about but thougght it was interesting..donne darko…actually I liked this movie…oh yeah and in the same vein as corporation is suburbia…bad car bad car and if you want mind numbing but ocassional laugh Kumar white castle…its worth just to see doogie

  4. The Corporation is excellent. Very informative, an intriguing thesis (corporation = sociopath). Like any documentary, it does have its biases, but not enough to distort the facts the way Michael Moore does. There’s a 2-disc edition of it I’d like to have; it must have tonnes of interesting bonus material.

    Donnie Darko — I don’t know a thing about this movie. I can’t remember why I wasn’t initially attracted to it, but apparently it’s not too bad. I’ll have to see it.

    Thanks, TB.

  5. “Donnie Darko” didn’t do much for me. All the elements are there for a fun, supernatural kind of movie, but they just didn’t pull it off. The connections between one scene and the next are thin. It takes forever for the story to develop into anything, and even when it does get going, it’s not much of a revelation.

    I was looking at the deleted scenes on the DVD, and it seems like ALL the scenes that tie the story together, that give it some coherence, we’re removed. Things would have still been slow to develop, but at least it would have made more sense.

    Certain elements of the movie were interesting, but it was so unfocused, it didn’t engage me. Not a horrible movie, but nothing I’d recommend.

    Apparently there’s a director’s cut which, if it has all those deleted scenes I was talking about, is probably a better movie.

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