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Review Nepal

Ashmina review: Exploring the quiet rebellion of a teenage girl

Release Date: 14 Oct 2018 / 15min

Cinestaan Rating

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Sukhpreet Kahlon

The short film by Dekel Berenson captures the hopes of a young girl forced to become a breadwinner at a young age.

Shot amid scenic locales, the short film Ashmina explores the lives of ordinary people who form the backbone of tourist activities.

Ashmina (Dikshya Karki) is a quiet 13-year-old girl who, instead of attending school, works in the paragliding capital of the world in Pokhara, Nepal. She lives with her family on the outskirts of the city and is part of the workforce in the tourist destination. She assists foreign paragliders and packs their gear as they come onto the landing field. In exchange, she is paid small change, which she dutifully hands over to her family.

Although Ashmina belongs to a traditional village, the tourists and the city beckons the young girl who wishes to partake of the delights that the world offers. She wants to spend a little bit of money on herself for the simple pleasure of eating ice-cream but even that act is punished and she is accused of stealing from her parents.

The short film by Dekel Berenson captures the hopes and rebellion of a young girl forced to become an earning member of the family at a young age. It is a comment on the ways in which traditional societies change in the face of a tourist economy and the exploitative, unorganised labour of children forced to provide for their families at a young age. 

Shot realistically, the film features non-professional actors. Although beautiful, the stark landscape echoes the loneliness of Ashmina, who goes through the motions of her routine existence without any enthusiasm till her anger silently provokes her to take action. 

The film won the Best Short Film Award at the 59th Krakow Film Festival and the award for the Best Live Action Short at the 36th Jerusalem Film Festival. It is being screened as part of the ongoing South Asian Film Festival of Montreal.

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