Nepali film ‘Lori’ wins a Special Mention of the Jury at Festival de CannesNepali writer-director Abinash Bikram Shah’s short film ‘Lori’ was among the nine short films selected for the Short Film Palme D’or category.
Nepali writer and director Abinash Bikram Shah’s short film ‘Lori: Melancholy of my mother’s lullabies’ won the Special Mention of the Jury at the 75th edition of the Cannes film festival that concluded on Saturday. Shah’s film was competing for the ‘The Short Film Palme D'or’ category at the prestigious international film festival.
The 14-minute short was among the nine films selected for the Short Film Palme D’or category for this year’s festival out of 3,507 submissions from more than 140 countries. Shah’s film had been competing against submissions from China, South Korea, Costa Rica, the United States, France, Ghana, Hong Kong, and Lithuania. Chinese filmmaker Jianying Chen’s ‘The Water Murmurs’ won the title prize under the short film category.
‘Lori’ revolves around a mother-daughter relationship. It delves into the grim realities of patriarchy in the rural south-eastern parts of Nepal. “A mother sings lullabies to her 12-year-old daughter in order to calm her down,” reads the film’s synopsis. “But when the lullabies end, and the daughter comes to her senses, the reality turns out to be much grimmer, and life-altering.”
‘Lori’ is shot by Uajal Kumar Bastakoti, edited by Suraj Paudel and features music by Ranzen Jha. The film features actors Ankita Yadav, Preeti Jha and Sujita Sah.
By winning the jury’s special mention at the Cannes, the first ever for a Nepali film, Shah’s ‘Lori’ marks a historical moment for the Nepali film industry.
“I feel ecstatic,” Shah told the Post in an interview. “This is an incredible moment. But having said that, I also know this is just the first step towards something bigger.”
Shah has previously co-written the script for Min Bham’s Kalo Pothi (The Black Hen), one of the most acclaimed Nepali films in the international film festival circuit. Tattini, a 13-minute drama which Shah wrote and directed, was released in 2018.
“This achievement might not bring the greatest of changes in the film industry but I believe it will make us realise that our Nepali stories and experiences are worth telling,” Shah added. “Given that they are told with enough passion and dedication, they have the potential to compete globally.”
Although a few Nepali films like ‘Chaukath’ have made their appearance in the Cannes Festival’s screening and exhibition categories previously, Shah’s ‘Lori’ was the country’s first film in the main competition category.
Anup Poudel, the producer of ‘Lori’, said that the film’s achievement has proved that this was never an impossible dream for Nepali filmmakers.
“We have been making short films for 12 years, and it hasn’t been an easy journey,” Poudel told the Post. “And the road to Festival de Cannes was not something that happened overnight… I think this is a moment of celebration for all Nepalis.”
Poudel added: “We believe this achievement has opened a door of possibilities for the Nepali film industry and has fuelled people with motivation and inspiration to do more.”