Pad Yatra: A Green Odyssey Review

This modest, amiable documentary should find a following among environmentalists and Eastern spirituality enthusiasts.

A trek across the Himalayas to raise climate-change awareness is respectfully packaged as inspirational comfort food in “Pad Yatra: A Green Odyssey.” Spearheaded by Buddhist leader the Gyalwang Drukpa, the titular event was a 2010 “walking pilgrimage” that attracted some 700 participants to hike 440 feet across frequently perilous terrain, collecting litter and spreading eco-education along the way. Tyro helmer Wendy J.N. Lee’s modest, amiable documentary should find a following within the cross-section of environmentalists and Eastern spirituality enthusiasts.

A brief prologue establishes the stakes in the region by surveying the wreckage of a devastating cloudburst in Ladakh, India — just one in a series of “climate chaos” events negatively impacting longstanding frontier communities. While the root causes may be global, the Drukpa’s message begins with local solutions as simple as reduce, reuse and recycle. Pic is unmistakably pitched at Western audiences, with most information coming from the reassuring narration of actress/activist Daryl Hannah and the anecdotes of Lee’s older sister, Carrie, an American lawyer and padyatra volunteer. Suitably stunning landscape photography was captured with a solar-powered camera by Tibetan monk Ngawang Sodpa, adding to the production’s eco-conscious cred.

Film Review: 'Pad Yatra: A Green Odyssey'

Reviewed on DVD, West Hollywood, Nov. 13, 2013. Running time: 68 MIN.


(Documentary) Produced by Wendy J.N. Lee. Executive producer, Michelle Yeoh.


Directed, edited by Wendy J.N. Lee. Camera (color, HD), Ngawang Sodpa; music, Pilar Diaz, Derek Zhao; sound, Patrick Knipe; associate producer, Eliza Pearson.


The 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, Carrie Lee, Aamir Khan. Narrator: Daryl Hannah. (English, Tibetan dialogue)

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