• 60 minutes
  • 2002
  • Kesang Tseten

His film explores the fragile ground where love and unlove cohabit, illuminating a rare space where the two are in close proximity but distinct. A unique Scottish Presbyterian home was founded by a missionary at the turn of the century in British India.

It takes in orphans, mainly destitute Anglo-Indian children, and subsequently, children of Tibetan refugees and other Himalayan people in strife. Providing an all-round education with old-fashioned and colonial Christian values, it is a home for many that would not have had one. But it is also a universe unto itself, a “total institution.”

For a “Homes chap” the institution is a surrogate parent, and an anchor and source of life-long attachment. It is a love with an edge, a difficult love. Why that is so is what Tibetan filmmaker and Homes alumnus Kesang Tseten attempts to answer when he and his classmates of 29 years ago, return to the site of his childhood in the Village for Children in the lap of Kanchenjunga, during the heightened emotions of reunion and the institution’s centennial celebrations.

This is a searing and yet lyrical reflection on displacement, marginality, nostalgia, the powerful hold of early experience About the Author Kesang Tseten is a Tibetan writer and filmmaker from Nepal.

Among his films are On the road with the red god: MACHHENDRANATH, which explores the complex human interactions that lie beneath the surface of the ancient and traditional chariot festival of the deity Rato Machhendranath; and We Homes Chaps, a personal documentary about a boarding school, Dr. Graham’s Homes, founded in 1900 by a Scottish Presbyterian missionary in Kalimpong, India, to shelter and educate outcast Anglo-Indian, Tibetan refugee and other children of marginal communities.

Tseten wrote the original screenplay for Mukundo (Mask of Desire), which won the Best Script Award from the Nepal Motion Pictures Association in 2000, and was an Academy Award selection from Nepal. A second feature script KARMA, about an errant Buddhist nun, is presently in production.

His stories have appeared in An Other Voice: English Writing from Nepal, which he co-edited and was published by Martin Chautari in 2003, and Secret Places, New Writing from Nepal in Manoa, published by the University of Hawaii. He is a graduate of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and of Amherst College.

Leave a Comment