Searching For Nepal chronicles the emotional and cultural journey of a
former Peace Corps Volunteer as he returns to Nepal, seeking out his
adopted family in the aftermath of
Nepal's Maoist civil war. Filmed entirely on location, this exotic, soul-searching adventure explores the universal
yearning to go home again--in a
Written By: Phil Deutschle
Directed By: Phil Deutschle,
For around 2 hours I watched Searching For Nepal silently from a small couch a few feet away from my monitor. When it was over, I sat quietly a little longer staring at my screen, trying to piece together what I would write for this review. I had just witnessed memory and future all rolled into one, and ever so slowly the implications and understanding washed over me. There's an indescribable beauty in this film that goes far beyond what any photo or video could ever show. It is the potential in all of us to leave something behind; far more than just a picture or presence fading in time. Searching For Nepal is a film dancing with the notion of legacies and all the good a person can do. As I started watching it quickly dawned on me that this would be a nostalgia film, with the most emotional impact coming from our host Phil Deutschle himself. Surely, in his heart he must have known that this journey was more for him than for any random viewer like me. He must have known that I may not... probably won't ever share his feelings or love of people I have never, and more than likely will never meet. Let me just say that I was completely wrong. I got swept up in Phil's journey, history and the village of Aiselukharka itself. How did this happen? I've seen loads of documentaries ranging from silly ones, straight through to the sad emotional roller coasters. What made this one different?
Searching For Nepal features your run of the mill documentary fare. No fancy camera tricks or effects, just straight up real filming at real locations. Because most of the movie is narrated, the audio is pretty much what you'd expect. Clear, crisp and mixed correctly. Nestled within the run of the mill doc styled shots, are some really majestic footage alongside some very interesting old photos. Piecing everything together into a coherent film must have been a massive effort. I can only imagine the amount of shots that "didn't" make the final cut! The end result is nothing less than stellar. This is a story told the right way. Everything flows perfectly and nothing seems out of place. In regards to editing for an emotional impact... one word. Perfect. My biggest complaint about this film however, was that it seemed to just end. I understand that this is not a fiction; real life chronicles just finish. However, I would love to have seen an update, maybe a few years later. A narration, interview or something. Maybe that's because Searching For Nepal really got to me in ways I just can't seem to write. My other biggest complaint is that I never got a hard copy of this film. Yet. That's something I look forward to fixing in the near future.
Near the end of the film Phil discusses his lasting impact in Aiselukharka and in my eyes, he completely downplayed his effect on the community and with the people. He did, in two short years what some people never get to do in their lifetime. The difference he made in so many lives is not something you can measure. The good he inspired will still be present long after we've all gone. Eventually, his name may not be known, but his impact will remain everywhere. Searching For Nepal is happy and sad, uplifting and inspiring all at once. For me, it's made me want to get out there and do something... anything that's not directly or indirectly self centered. This is probably what makes this film so damn good! I expect to see Searching For Nepal become a hit! Even if it doesn't though, if it vanishes from existence forever... there will always be at least one person who really gets it. A person who for whatever reason got something amazing out of this film. Me. For that I am thankful to everyone who made this movie possible. For me, Searching For Nepal showed me the potential inside myself to leave something behind, aside from a few random reviews. If this is a feeling you are looking for then might I suggest taking a few hours and watching for yourself.
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