Baato review – head to head with progress and cattle in Nepal

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A new road threatens a mountain community in Lucas Millard and Kate Stryker’s gently observational documentary

In an isolated community in the Upper Arun valley in Nepal, a mountain community spends much of the year harvesting medicinal herbs. As the winter approaches, the villagers make their annual pilgrimage to the lowland markets: the money they make there supports the whole community. It’s a marathon journey, about 185 miles (300km), much of it travelled on foot with huge, unwieldy baskets balanced on bowed shoulders.

This gentle, observational documentary accompanies the families on this arduous trip, going head to head with recalcitrant cattle; teetering on single-file cliff paths. But the world is about to change, with the construction of a transnational highway in Nepal that will link the village to the world outside. Mechanical diggers gouge chunks out of the hillside while the locals look on, concerned about the fate of an elderly neighbour’s potato plot. The inevitable collision between progress and tradition is reminiscent of the beekeeping documentary Honeyland, but Baato lacks that film’s engaging appeal and humour.

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Written by Wendy Ide
This news first appeared on under the title “Baato review – head to head with progress and cattle in Nepal”. Bolchha Nepal is not responsible or affiliated towards the opinion expressed in this news article.