SHAMBHALA: from Nepal a meditation about life and love at Berlin Film Festival

It is the first Nepalese film to be in competition at Berlinale and one of the best surprises of the festival. In a Nepalese Himalayan village a young beautiful woman, Pema, starts her adult life with a polyandrous marriage to Tashi and his two younger brothers and continues her journey with a deep search for her liberation as a woman, developing her inner peace and spiritual evolution at the same time. It took 45 drafts to write the final screenplay, many months to find the right producers, and many years of meditation to find the right environment.

Bham, the director, told Variety that the film’s sweeping landscapes, depicted in contemplative shots, invite the audience to inhabit Pema’s emotional landscape, experience her solitude and introspection firsthand and serve to mirror her inner world. At the press conference Bham added that: “We are always running to materialistic things, but we forget to see that we have the best qualities inside us…In order to be happy, it’s better to just look inside you and you will find your own happiness that will guide your life and make your life very easy”. He also said: “Being a male director telling a story with a female protagonist was a big challenge for me as a filmmaker because I had to find the feminine side of my own character.” The shooting took place in the Upper Dolpo the highest region of the Himalayas, between Nepal and Tibet, one of the highest human settlements on the planet. The cast and crew suffered from altitude sickness and the extreme cold conditions. “We had to walk for days and days through big winds and snow storms and it was very hard sleeping in tents in the cold at 6000 meters,” said one of the actors. “It was an extremely challenging situation,” added Bham, “but an amazing learning experience. We all learned the values of life and the meaning of friendship.”