Kathmandu:

They number just 900 today, but they have been around as a tribe for 3,600 years. They are the Samaritans, a tribe in Israel, descendants of Joseph, who are in the literal and the actual sense a ‘vanishing tribe’.

New Samaritans is about this tribe who call themselves the ‘Keepers of Truth’. They are a priestly class and intermarriage with anyone outside of the clan is prohibited.

It was screened at the Kathmandu International Mountain Film Festival (KIMFF) on December 10.

The film is dark, but a light shines through. It is scary too at times because in a very haunting way it reflects our society in so many ways.

No inter-caste marriage. Keep the tradition. Don’t do anything different from what we have been doing for so many generations. Ring familiar? This is what New Samaritan explores.

And how the High Priest vows to ensure that there are healthy Samaritan children in the future (eight per cent of the tribe are handicapped). Breaking the 3,000-year-old fundamental commandments, High Priest Shalom gives his nod and two Samaritans go to far off lands in search of brides.

New Samaritans is also the story of these two women, who leave their families, their traditions, their cultures, to be with their men and set up a home and family. It is about their struggles, their strengths and their compromises.

The film touches on the genetic aspects of generations of inter-tribe/family marriage and how it is dangerous to the survival of an entire nation itself.

New Samaritans will be screened again at the Russian Culture Centre on December 11, which is the last day of KIMFF, which is happening at three venues simultaneously.

This fourth edition of KIMFF is dedicated to Dr Harka Gurung, Nepal’s storehouse of knowledge. He died in a helicopter crash earlier in the year.

At the Russian Culture Centre, tributes were paid to Dr Gurung and two of his books Nepal: Atlas and Statistics, and Bibidh Bishaya (A collection of his Nepali writings) were also released.

KIMFF highlights: Dec 11

At Russian Culture Centre

Hall A

•Planet Earth - Mountains at 10:30 am

•China Blue at 11:30 am

•Manaslu Climb at 2:00 pm

•New Samaritans at 4:30 pm

•100 % Woman at 5:45 pm

Hall B

•Be Zi ‘Quilts’ at 10:30 am

•Women of K2 at 12:15 pm

•37 Uses for a Dead Sheep at 2:00 pm

•View from a Grain of Sand at 4:00 pm

(For Gurukul, NTB timings, log on to www.himalassociation.org/kimff)