Doc­u­men­tary, not rated, 74 min­utes, in Ladakhi with sub­ti­tles,

Pasatiempo - - CAPSULE REVIEWS - Be­com­ing Who I Was, rin­poche, Fry Day cat spin­ster­hood. — Jon Bow­man

The Santa Fe In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val of­fers two doc­u­men­tary fea­tures set in the re­mote moun­tains of Ladakh, In­dia: about a child be­lieved to be the rein­car­na­tion of a sa­cred and The Shep­herdess of the Glaciers. The lat­ter film, co-di­rected by Chris­tiane Mordelet and Stanzin Dor­jai, the brother of Tser­ing, the shep­herdess of the film’s ti­tle, is a tale of de­vo­tion in a place where one mis­step can mean sud­den death. Tser­ing is a stoic wo­man, among the last shep­herdesses in the re­gion and com­mit­ted to pre­serv­ing a dy­ing oc­cu­pa­tion. At 16,500 feet up in the Gya-Miru Val­ley, Tser­ing tends a flock of hun­dreds of sheep and goats fac­ing pre­da­tion by wolves and snow leop­ards (one of which crawls in­side her tent one night). She deals with the threat of harsh win­ters, and, save for her bond to the an­i­mals, lone­li­ness.

The film was the Grand Prize win­ner at the Banff Moun­tain Film and Book Fes­ti­val in 2016. To the viewer, the land­scape Tser­ing in­hab­its is al­ter­nately beau­ti­ful and bar­ren and al­ways rugged. Her re­mark­able story is one of re­silience, and she pos­sesses an in­domitable spirit. Still, it’s heart­break­ing to hear her tell how much it’s like los­ing her only friend when her old ra­dio — her main con­nec­tion to the greater world and an ob­ject she calls her mom, her dad, her brother, and her sis­ter — stops work­ing. She lives with­out most of the ameni­ties most of us are used to, miles from the near­est hu­man con­tact, ex­cept for when Stanzin comes to stay with her. We learn she chose this life years be­fore in­stead of mar­ry­ing, opt­ing to main­tain an ex­is­tence as the last herder in her fam­ily. But she does get home­sick for the life she left be­hind, es­pe­cially at night when it’s bit­ter cold.

Hers is a re­mark­able story, filmed over the course of four sea­sons when Tser­ing was fifty years old, that also of­fers in­sights into the Bud­dhist way of life, one that en­ables Tser­ing to cope with the dif­fi­cul­ties she faces. She takes sim­ple plea­sure in her in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship with her flock, lead­ing them through per­ilous ter­rain on the quest to find pas­tures for graz­ing. Were it not for the fact that her oc­cu­pa­tion in­volves ex­tremely hard work with no respite, and no time off, one al­most en­vies her off-the-grid ex­is­tence, and cer­tainly ad­mires her de­ter­mi­na­tion to sur­vive. — Michael Abatemarco If the shorts pro­grams in the Santa Fe In­de­pen­dent Film Fes­ti­val serve as a true barom­e­ter, we’re go­ing to be see­ing many more pic­tures made by women in the years to come. Although there are cer­tainly out­stand­ing short films made by men, many of the most ex­cit­ing and ex­cep­tional works this year came from women. Here are a few you won’t want to miss among Shorts Pro­grams 1 through 5, along with New Mex­ico Nar­ra­tive and Doc­u­men­tary Shorts.

▼ by Laura Moss. Fresh from suc­cesses at the Tribeca and South by South­west film fes­ti­vals,

is the har­row­ing com­ing-of-age saga of a teenage girl at­tend­ing the “fes­tiv­i­ties” out­side the Flor­ida prison where se­rial killer Ted Bundy is set to be elec­tro­cuted in the win­ter of 1989. Much of the ten­sion grows out of the Po­laroids taken by the young wo­man (Jor­dyn DiNatale), who sells them as $2 sou­venirs to the throng gath­ered for the killing. Vet­eran ac­tress El­iz­a­beth Ash­ley co-stars. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, 11:30 a.m. Thurs­day, Oct. 19; 3 p.m. Oct. 20; 8 p.m. Oct. 21. Shorts Pro­gram 1: U.S. Shorts.

▼ by Britt Raes. Here’s an imag­i­na­tive Bel­gian an­i­ma­tion about a young girl who keeps ac­ci­den­tally killing her pets un­til she takes charge of Cather­ine, a mag­i­cal cat that seem­ingly makes the most of its nine lives. The film evolves as it pro­gresses, be­com­ing a hu­mor­ous so­lil­o­quy on old age and crazy

Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, 1 p.m. Oct. 20; 3:45 p.m. Oct. 21. Shorts Pro­gram 5: An­i­ma­tion and Ex­per­i­men­tal.

▼ by Jes­sica King­don. This is a col­or­ful and kalei­do­scopic strolling tour of Yiwu Mar­ket, the world’s largest whole­sale mall out­side Shang­hai, where ven­dors in booths ped­dle thou­sands of dif­fer­ent goods, from Santa stat­ues to hair or­na­ments. We wit­ness the hag­gling that goes on, the un­ruly kids in tow, and the mer­chants try­ing to sneak in a lit­tle nap. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, 1 p.m. Oct. 20; 3:45 p.m. Oct. 21. Shorts Pro­gram 5: An­i­ma­tion and Ex­per­i­men­tal.

▼ by Brissa Piñera. This cir­cus al­le­gory re­counts a time when smiles be­come en­dan­gered, af­ter an evil ring­mas­ter takes charge of a com­mu­nity cir­cus. Pin­era, a na­tive of Queré­taro, Mex­ico, shot this at the Santa Fe Univer­sity of Art and De­sign us­ing tal­ent from Wise Fool New Mex­ico. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, 8:10 p.m. Oct. 20; 3 p.m. Oct. 22. New Mex­ico Nar­ra­tive Shorts.

▼ by Ja­cob Ros­dail. This short doc­u­men­tary explores life along the Gila River out­side Sil­ver City. The film gets into the com­pet­ing views between en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists and ranch­ers want­ing to com­mer­cial­ize the river. Cen­ter for Con­tem­po­rary Arts, 6:15 p.m. Oct. 20; 1 p.m. Oct. 22. New Mex­ico Doc­u­men­tary Shorts, CCA.

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