by wowmagazine

“As soon as our film screening ended in Cannes, the applause went on for about 15 to 20 minutes; that moment remains incomparable,” recalls the team of Lori. 

Lori – Melancholy of My Mother’s Lullabies, a 14-minute short movie won the special mention award in the short film genre of the prestigious Cannes Film Festival 2022, creating a buzz on the internet. This highly poignant film was able to capture the hearts of its audiences at the screening in Cannes. This cinematic masterpiece is about a mother-daughter relationship around the issue of child marriage; what makes it different is its storytelling style. The film is told entirely in the form of a lullaby.  

The film poster has the image of a girl half asleep whose one eye is being stretched open by her mother to wake her up. Abinash, the director, says “The poster captures the entire essence of the film.” 

Abinash Bikram Shah is considered a gem of the Nepali film fraternity. He has an impressive, award-winning body of work as writer, director and producer. His previous work as writer for feature films includes Deepak Rauniyar’s Highway (Berlin Film Festival, 2012) and Min Bahadur Bham’s Kalo Pothi (Venice Film Festival, 2016) which was also Nepal’s official Oscar entry. He has written and directed several shorts including Ma Khushi Chu and Tattini as well as written the popular TV series Singha Durbar. 

His work depicts the society we live in raising awareness on pertinent issues that the vulnerable sections of society must face. Talking about Lori, Abinash says, “The film is based on real life experiences that I witnessed while growing up in Terai.” Through the short film, Abinash uses Nepali lullabies to question patriarchy. His writing and direction is sensitive and sophisticated, and the film brings to the forefront the inequity of marriage and the place of women in our society. “I grew up in a household full of women as my father died when I was young. This led me to understand the life of my mother and sisters,” he shares. 

The cast of the short film is non-actors. Ankita Yadav plays the lead character, Simri. Abhinash says, “She did everything so effortlessly. She is exceptionally smart and intelligent. For instance, I’d give her directions to do something and she would most often improvise and provide greater depth to the character. She is indeed a born actor.” He shares that one of the major challenges hwe faced in the making of the film was finding the actor. He shares that he finally found Ankita in a place called Karjanha in Siraha through multiple rounds of audition. 

Besides Abinash, the main crew of Lori consists of producer Anup Poudel, editor Suraj Paudel, cinematographer Ujjal Bastakoti, production designer Sandeep Badal and art director Kala Sangraula. The crew shares an amazing bond and passion for filmmaking. The producer shares how they were backed by a production house in Hong Kong for Lori. The team tells how this genre of film hardly generates revenue but that this has not deterred their spirit. They share that the movie took 10 days to shoot but the editing process took more than a year. The shoot was conducted despite the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Now the team is looking forward to screening the short film in Kathmandu during a film festival and in Janakpur. The crew shared that after Lori they are intending to make a feature film with two female protagonists and a village tormented by the attack of a wild elephant. Needless to say, we are waiting in eager anticipation.  

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