Soongava—Dance of the Orchids

DIRECTOR: Subarna Tharpe

Last year Frameline presented the first Thai film to deal with a lesbian love affair. This year we show the first film from Nepal to do so, a film featuring a lush but dangerous romance. Kiran and Diya, female college students in Kathmandu, are best friends on the verge of becoming lovers. The graceful Diya aspires to be a traditional Nepali dancer. She goes along with an arranged engagement to a same-caste man to please her old-fashioned parents. But Kiran loves to watch Diya dance and isn’t shy about her desire for her.

In their middle-class society, they have to be alone to express their true feelings, and a gushing waterfall is the perfect place for their trysts and quarrels. But as their romance blossoms and family pressures build, even the law becomes involved, wreaking havoc on Diya’s new job and the lovers’ living situation. Meanwhile, a new complication forces Diya and Kiran’s hand. As in traditional dance, the taboo lover expresses passion in a tightly controlled regime. Filmmaker Subarna Thapa boldly crafts a sensuous and tension-filled film, reminding us that it doesn’t always get better when a community feels disgraced by a passionate love affair.

— FRAKO LODEN

This film contains graphic depictions of homophobic and sexual violence.

AT&T Audience Award Text Voting Code: F134

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