Urbanisation and migration from the countryside to cities are current phenomena in Nepal, where the capital Kathmandu is constantly expanding. The need for more planned urban space is urgent, and to respond to it, the state of Nepal has decided to have a new city built in the Kathmandu Valley. The planning of the city is assigned to a Finnish architect Pekka Helin and his architectural film Helin & Co Architects, whose handprint has become familiar especially for Helsinkians in the form of the REDI shopping centre and its tower blocks.
The documentary lets the viewer follow the progression of the rare project from its first planning meetings. To plan a whole city for 600 000 residents is a new and demanding task even for the experienced Helin. The enormous size of the project is only one of the many challenges ahead. Nepalese culture is totally unfamiliar to the planning team, which gives rise to several surprises as the project advances, such as the relocation of sacred temples in the area being out of the question. Helin and the planning team aim to plan a paradise, but what seems like a paradise to them is not automatically that for the Nepalese.
A Plan for Paradise is a unique depiction of a huge architectural project, and at the same time, it aptly illustrates the clashing of two cultures that are very different and strange to each other. They share a common objective of a modern city with quality homes, green areas and sustainable energy combined with Nepalese traditions. Despite the shared goal and mutual respect, the cultural differences cause head-scratching and frustration.
The director of the documentary, Kati Juurus, has previously acted as the artistic director of DocPoint and is awarded for her investigative journalism.
Director Kati Juurus attends the screening of her film on Thu, Feb 1.