Price: $310.00

    Code: 2333

    Directed by Neasa Ní Chianáin
    2007, 60 minutes
    Purchase $310 Classroom Rental: $125

    It was as a student that director Neasa Ní Chianáin first encountered a celebrated Irish poet. The charismatic figure of the poet cast a spell on her: his poetry spoke of the land as well as of the pain of his lost homosexual love.

    Years later, and by then a friend, the poet invites the director to accompany him to film his spiritual home - Nepal. For a decade he has made annual trips there, basking in its gentle generous culture. In return, he has contributed liberally, sponsoring many young boys in their studies. He helps them with stipends, school fees, clothes, bicycles, gives continuously to needy causes, even rallying the artistic community to contribute.

    To this impoverished third-world congregation, he is a shaman or even a God.

    Through the camera lens, the fairytale shines: it seems as if Nepal, and the love of the boys the poet has helped, has healed a heart wounded by the loss of his first lover in Ireland. Boy after boy interviewed in Nepal speaks warmly of him, of his generosity and affection. The poet basks in all the attention and talks frankly about love, friendship and the innocence of the Nepalese boys he knows.

    But all is not what it seems, as soon thereafter, first a hotel manager, and then some Nepalese youths come forward to tell a different tale, and, like the Nepalese prayer flags in the poet's Irish garden, hung bright and new but destined to fade and unravel in the wind, the picture of the kind benefactor falls apart. Unable to believe the allegations about the poet she idolized, the filmmaker is forced to enter the action and confront him.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * Winner, Film Critics Jury prize for Documentary, Barcelona Int’l Gay & Lesbian Festival, 2008
    * Winner, Best Director, Ourense International Film Festival, 2008
    * Winner, Best Documentary – 2nd prize, Documenta Madrid Film Festival, 2008
    * Official Selection, London Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, 2009
    * Official Selection, Amsterdam Documentary Film Festival, 2007
    * Official Selection, Frameline, San Francisco GLBT Film Festival, 2008
    * Official Selection, Edinburgh International Film Festival, 2008
    * Official Selection, Seattle International Film Festival, 2008


    “Provocative in both content and technique. A highly emotional trip into a complex relationship, and a glimpse into the vagaries of third-world sex tourism.” – Variety

    “A subtle yet poignant film.” - Dox Magazine

    “A pleasantly chilling sense of dread winds through the film, finally exploding into a terrible case of documentarian’s remorse that makes this a truly fascinating story.” – The Stranger (Seattle Weekly)

    “Disturbing and provocative, Fairytale of Kathmandu is astounding in the end for many reasons.” – San Francisco Chronicle

    "What began as a quiet, benign documentary filled with gorgeous images of landscapes in Ireland and Nepal unwittingly but powerfully develops into an investigative report that makes you realize little is as pretty or perfect as it seems…. Just when you think this documentary can't get any more powerful, it does. Chianain has made an important film against her original wishes, and in the end you may feel as compelled to activism as she.” – Metro Weekly, Washington, DC’s GBLT News Weekly

    “This is a controversial and brave documentary which although only an hour long, fearlessly takes on several taboos... this is a film that will get you thinking and talking about several issues; honesty in documentary film making, homophobia, sex tourism and exploitation to name a few. Fairytale of Kathmandu is a film you will want to see, for a wider variety of reasons than with almost any other documentary.” - Prost Amerika, (Seattle Film Festival review)

    "While beginning as a straightforward documentary… the film increasingly investigates O’Searcaigh’s apparently unseemly and possibly illegal sexual activities with the young men of the Nepalese capital, becoming a film exposing sex tourism… Fairytale of Kathmandu will undoubtedly provide a great deal of discussion and thought regarding the nature of social dominance and the extent of personal choices. Taught in conjunction with press articles from the Irish press debate, Fairytale of Kathmandu is overall very much recommended—but not entirely for the debates, I think, the filmmaker wanted to generate. In this way, though, some of the “muddiness” of the film’s techniques might make it a better work, in spite of itself, regarding discussions on sex tourism, Western “dominance,” legalities and ethics. Thus, Fairytale of Kathmandu is recommended for collections that highlight Asian studies, criminal justice, ethics, and gay and lesbian studies.” - Educational Media Reviews Online