Who Will Be a Gurkha

Kesang Tseten, Nepal / England / Norway / Finland, 2012, color / black and white, DCP, 75'

The Brigade of Gurkhas has been a special unit within the British army for 200 years. Boys are recruited for the unit in the mountain villages of Nepal. In Who Will Be a Gurkha, director Kesang Tseten observes how these boys fare in this rigorous three-phase selection procedure extending over six months. The aspiring soldiers' physical condition, intelligence and motivation are all put to the test. It means that the selection isn't only a matter of fitness and muscle power, but also of the right mental preparation. The Gurkhas are known for their courage and fighting spirit, and they fight, just like regular British soldiers, in areas of conflict such as Iraq and Afghanistan. They consider it a great honor to be part of the brigade, but perhaps the British salary also helps. Some have prepared themselves well, while others got their training from shady "academies" that unfortunately don't give them the same advantage. Gossip and prejudice lead some boys to think that certain castes are getting priority over others, or that some positions are up for sale. But the selection procedure is "free, fair and transparent," something that the British commanders often repeat. Archive footage is alternated with recent scenes of the boys training and, in their spare time, singing. In this way, the film provides a broad perspective on a 200-year-old military tradition that still provides status to young Nepalese men.

IDFA Forum selection announced October 13, 2015 | The complete list of projects selected for IDFA Forum 2015 has been announced.
IDFA 2015 Line-Up Announced October 9, 2015 | The complete list of selected films for IDFA 2015, in alphabetical order, is now online. The full screening schedule will be available from November 5.
Looking at documentary sound October 6, 2015 | Sound in the documentary will be the central theme of the Sounds Real program. IDFA has invited five international sound designers to choose two documentaries with exceptional sound design: one of their own, and one by a colleague.
Opening film: A Family Affair by Tom Fassaert September 22, 2015 | The 28th edition of IDFA will open with A Family Affair by Dutch director Tom Fassaert, an exploration of the director's own delicate family history.


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