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Three hour series includes excerpts from over fifty hours of original interviews, hundreds of never before seen photos, exotic film clips, and a lot of very cool stuff . . . all backed by a mind-blowing original soundtrack.


Nepal...The Roads of Progress

Watch the film here. Password is nepal

Nepal, a kingdom of timeless and dramatic beauty, is also one of the poorest countries in the world, affected by pollution, the melting of glaciers due to global warming, and rampant globalization. Despite its problems, the fabled ‘Roof of the World’ remains magical, and the majestic Himalayas continue to captivate trekkers and tourists alike.

This documentary, produced and directed by Roger Charret, is neither a travelogue nor an environmental exposé, but a bit of both. In any case it is a beautifully crafted film that will transport the viewer to an extraordinary world caught between a desire to preserve the charming medieval isolation of its past and embrace the progress of its present.

It all started with construction of the roads. The filmmakers have interviewed mountain guides, farmers, development officials, doctors, innkeepers, schoolteachers and tradespeople, and all offer contradictory opinions on the tangible benefits of their development, and the dangerous downside. In 1980, when our filmmakers first visited Nepal, no real roads existed.  At present, 12,000 kilometers have been built, often precariously, with profound effects on everyone from hillside farmers to mountain trekkers.  With the influx of ready-made foods, farmers fear for their livelihoods, and the trekkers complain that not only has the ‘Roof of the World’ lost its sublime isolation, but the crude paths they’d once hiked, past wandering sacred cows and plots of rice and millet and ginger have become traffic-choked roads reeking of black diesel smoke and careening trucks and buses. Doctors and teachers, on the other hand, welcome the access to healthcare and education.

This film was shot before and after the devastating earthquake of 2015, when 3,600 died and small villages built of simple stone and mud were leveled. Many villagers are still trying to recover, still waiting for the state to help them rebuild. Young people have left, looking for a better life, and have not returned. Many have gone to Kathmandu, the capital, where the population has exploded from a town of 250,000 to a teeming chaotic, polluted city of 1.5 million.

Though the Nepalese remain hopeful that these roads will usher them into the 21st century, they remain an endearing, deeply religious people (most are Hindu) who bestow Tika blessings of red powder and rice on the foreheads of all who visit, whose ancient temples and dynamic and colorful markets offer a window into the real Nepal, and to a people who would prefer living to the rhythm of nature.

And therein lies the paradox of ‘The Roof of the World.’  Go before it’s too late. This film is essential viewing for senior students of political science, sociology, geography, and urban/environmental studies, and trekkers from all walks of life.

Purchase NEPAL The Roads of Progress $250

Academic rights INCLUDE the DVD with PPR and DSL. Use of third-party streaming services is OK. Academic licensees can also ask for a custom quote for single screenings. 

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