No Winter Holidays: Guardians of a Cloudy Legacy

English Daily #2
No Winter Holidays (Rajan Kathet/Sunir Pandey, Nepal/South Korea/Romania, 2023), International Competition, 11-7 17:30 Moscow Cinema Blue Hall, 12-7 10:00 House of Cinema Grand Hall

In October, Ratima and Kalima's co-villagers leave the Dhor Valley and head south to spend the winter on warmer terrain. Remaining alone in an empty village, in the company of temporarily abandoned houses and animals, the two women do laundry in the river, gossip about acquaintances, remember the dead, spin yarn, complain about life. In short, it’s winter.

Nepali filmmakers Rajan Kathet and Sunir Pandey's collaborative documentary No Winter Holidays follows these two elderly widows, once married to the same man. Surrounded by cloudy hills and mountains, misty fields and foggy, gloomy valleys, cut off from the outside world, they seem to live between the past and a period of stagnation. The gray landscape and haunting houses, the rocky terrain and snow-covered paths, the cozy corner of a humble cabin and the burning fire seem to lull and provide the audience with a winter home next to the lonely women.

The village, slowly through time itself through time, and the daily repetition in the lives of Ratima and Kalima, are equally simple and uncomplicated. In addition to the crackling bonfire, the women are warmed by memories of the past and everyday domestic conversations. They seem to not only be the guardians of the village, but also the preservers of heritage and folk traditions. As long as they are there, the connection with the past and antiquity will be preserved, making it so that the children who will return to the village in the spring will inherit it from them.

Diana Martirosyan