An aspiring dancer falls in love with her best femme friend in the deadly solemn “Soongava: Dance of the Orchids,” reportedly the first Nepali feature to deal with same-sex relationships (though the Himalayan nation has implemented some of Asia’s most gay-friendly legislation since 2007). Male scribe-helmer Subarna Thapa’s film benefits from nice dance sequences and exotically unfamiliar locales, but is otherwise a rather by-the-numbers coming-out narrative and, sadly, includes what feels like a prerequisite tragic ending. Queer events will nonetheless want a look.
Gorgeous Diya (Deeya Maskey) comes from a well-off family that informs her of arranged-marriage plans just as she’s taken her relationship with her BFF, working-class teacher Kiran (Nisha Adhikari), to the next level. After a lot of tortured back-and-forth and numerous soapy twists, the lovers move in together in Kathmandu, though their ordeal is far from over. Unfortunately, the well-intentioned pic’s highly melodramatic (if tonally very serious) plotting and focus on a conservative, family-oriented society won’t do much to convince local queer youths that it does get better. Acting and tech credits are passable.