Film Details

Up Down & Sideways

Film Synopsis

In the Phek district of India’s Nagaland state near the country’s border with Myanmar, the 5000 local villagers plant and grow rice in vast terraces. The workers come together in cooperative groups known as mülé and have an oral folk music tradition called Li that are sung in harmony by voices up, down and sideways across the fields and mountains in a hypnotic musical collage. Songs about love and mischief become the collective heartbeat of these people, but the traditions passed down across generations are becoming endangered by a religious shift towards Christianity, and disinterest by younger Phek residents. Through the rhythms of song, this documentary reveals a community portrait of humanity’s connection with the land.


The Asia Pacific Screen Academy expresses its respect for and acknowledgement of the South East Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We pay our respects to the Traditional Owners of country, including the custodial communities on whose land works are created and celebrated by the Asia Pacific Screen Awards. We acknowledge the continuing connection to land, waters and communities. We also pay our respects to Elders, past and emerging. We recognise the integral role Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and First Nations peoples continue to play in storytelling and celebration spaces.

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