Fairytale of Kathmandu

Fairytale of Kathmandu

Northern Ireland, 2007, 60 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Arts & Literature, Documentary, Gay
Program: Documentary
Language: English, Gaelic, Nepalese

DIRECTOR: Neasa Ni Chianain

The beloved gay Irish poet Cathal O’Searchaigh had been making annual pilgrimages to the Himalayan city of Kathmandu for a decade. His neighbor, Neasa Ni Chianan, was moved by his tales of the beauty and spirituality he found there and by his stories of the impoverished young men he had helped to open businesses or go to school. So when he invited her along on his latest trek, Ni Chianan decided to document their journey. She hadn’t counted on discovering a very different side of O’Searchaigh’s relationships with the young men he met along the way. The sight of them slipping in and out of his bedroom almost made her cancel her film and her trip, but she continued on with both.
Now O’Searchaigh accuses Ni Chianan of deceit. After seeing the film, he denounced it as salacious and declared, “The veiled suggestion that I exploited young men for my own sexual gratification is not true.” Interviews with the young men themselves seem to tell a different story. Ni Chianan admits that none of them were under 16, the legal age in Nepal, when they went to O’Searchaigh’s room. But when the film played in Dublin, the Irish Police seized a copy and announced they were considering bringing charges against the poet under Irish law. Now Ni Chianan’s travelogue turned scandalous exposé may cost the bard his reputation and his freedom. — MARK PAGE

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