TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘A Road to a Village’

Posted in TIFF 2023 by - September 11, 2023
TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘A Road to a Village’

One of TIFF’s potential deep cuts this year is Nabin Subba’s A Road to a Village. Apologies for comparing this film to Western literature, but think of this as a mix of the Book of Job and mid career Thomas Hardy but set in the great Nepalese landscape. Here, the titular road upends the life of a family. Feeling the effects of this disruption is the family’s father Maila (Dayahang Rai), a weaver. In theory, the road may help him deliver his goods, which he does eventually. But the road brings modern materials that that villagers prefer. This makes him unable to support his wife Maili (Pashupati Rai) and child Bindrey (Prasana Rai). The local store owner suggests he dabble in bootlegging, which fails.

Unlike what that one guy in Letterboxd said, the cinematography in Road is beautiful. What also helps is that Subba and crew’s camera also looks for things that are askew to add dynamism within the frame. It shows us the road that zags onto the mountains like several scars, or Malil’s posture that bends, indicating exhaustion. My references to Job and Hardy is backhanded compliment in that this film has its tendencies to make things harder for this family than necessary. And yes, the crowd I was with adored Bindrey but it feels like the film is pushing him to be annoying. The film manages to be both a crowd pleaser and one showing the realities of capitalism. But count me out the crowd.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watches movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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