Embedded above is a trailer for "Valley of Saints," a new film about life and love in the Indian territory of Kashmir. The Kashmir conflict is complicated. Pakistan claims the territory as its own, and a number of Kashmiris seem to agree, at times forming insurgent groups to fight India's strong and at times abusive police and military presence.
The film, "Valley of Saints," dramatizes the struggle of life in Kashmir, telling the story of a young man trying to flee the area, but drawn to the side of a local woman who wants to stay and help her fellow Kashmiris. It seems to be as much about the difficulty of life in Kashmir as about the young man's decision between fleeing his home and serving it.
A reviewer who saw the film at Sundance gave it high marks. "The film’s bucolic mood is constantly threatened by the prevailing reality of violence and injustice in the region, a creeping tension that [director Musa] Syeed carefully calibrates to emphasize the tenuousness of his characters’ relationships," he wrote.
On Wednesday, after months of festivals, "Valley of Saints" finally opened in India. But, rather than a wide release in the country's famously large film market, it played only at the Mumbai Film Festival. Maybe the film's politics has something to do with the lack of public interest, although the fact that it's a Kashmiri-language film probably has more to do with it. Still, it was well received, winning the Special Jury Award Thursday.