Director: Musa Syeed
Runtime: 81 minutes
Country: India, USA
Language: Kashmiri, English
Widely considered to be the crown jewel of Kashmir, Dal Lake is a sprawling aquatic community where erupting political violence often distracts from the natural beauty. Gulzar, a young, working-class boatman, plans to skip town with his best friend in search of a better life, but a weeklong military curfew derails their departure. Forced to wait it out, Gulzar takes a job assisting a pretty scientist named Asifa. As they navigate the floating landscape, collecting water samples for an environmental study, an unlikely relationship blossoms between the two. When Asifa’s research reveals harmful pollutants, Gulzar realizes that the ecology of the lake and an entire way of life face an alarming threat, and everything in his own life begins to take on a new hue.
Lush cinematography heightens the region’s visual splendor in this enlightening feature debut from Musa Syeed. Intricately weaving contemporary issues with traditional culture and ancient myths, Valley of the Saints is a vibrant, lyrical film about finding one’s path home in a changing world. (Text by The Film Collaborative)
This film is part of the strand Dreaming of Home. For the full Constellating Histories: Encountering Asian American Diasporas Onscreen programme, please click here.
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