Nepal | 2016 | 87 min | Nepali
In this delicately crafted examination of Nepal’s rebirth after 20 years of war and unrest, Maoist rebel Chandra returns to his remote mountain village to bury his royalist father. As preparations take place for the male-only funeral procession, he reconnects with ex-wife Durga—a fiercely independent lower-caste woman who stands accused of polluting her father-in- law’s funeral rites by touching his body. Oblivious to such matters, Durga is focused on persuading Chandra to sign paternity papers for her young daughter, Pooja, without which she cannot be issued with a birth certificate or attend school. Meanwhile, tradition requires that Chandra shares pallbearing duties with his estranged brother Suraj—a doctor who also supported the royalists. Before long, their opposing social and political views boil over, Suraj storms off, and Chandra is left with a corpse that cannot be moved unless the super-strict local priest gives his approval. This powerful drama contemplates the necessity of tolerance and reconciliation if Nepal is to move peacefully into the future.
Born in Saptari, Nepal, in 1978, Deepak Rauniyar is a fellow of Berlinale Talents, TIFF Talent Lab and Asian Cultural Council. He has written and directed several award-winning radio dramas for the BBC World Service Trust in Nepal and, in 2010, he co-founded Aadi Productions in Kathmandu. Deepak has directed two short films—Threshold (2008) and Pooja (2010). His first feature was Highway (2012). Describing his motivation to make White Sun, Deepak says, “I was 17 when the Maoist-led war started. 22 years later, for good or bad, the country is still going through a political process as a result of the same war. How could I ignore it? Still, one thing I did not want to do is make another sad, hopeless film about a bloody war. I was more interested to explore the aftermath of the war.”