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Icarus Film
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From the dGenerate Films Collection
A film by Pema Tseden
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film still"Renowned Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden returns with his profoundly moving new feature [adapted from his own novella] about a Tibetan shepherd named Tharlo. Visiting a Tibetan town in Qinghai province to obtain a proper ID card from the local police station, Tharlo surprises Police Chief Dorje by reciting from memory a lengthy excerpt from one of Chairman Mao’s essays. But things develop in a romantic rather than a political direction. To prepare for his ID photo, Tharlo needs his hair washed, and so meets Yangtso, a beautiful local hairdresser. Their courtship is both exquisitely awkward and enthrallingly suspenseful. Tharlo is smitten, but town-dweller Yangtso’s ideas of fun are not quite Tharlo’s, and he spends an uncomfortable evening with her at a local karaoke joint.

"This is a passionate love story with darker undercurrents, where basic pastoral imperatives such as protecting his sheep from hungry wolves run against Tharlo’s discovery of the contemporary pleasures of smoking, drinking, singing and sex.

"Pema Tseden’s beautifully modulated black-and-white palette captures rural Qinghai with impressive grandeur, while the smallest details of Tharlo’s and Yangtso’s courtship register with vivid immediacy. Yangshik Tso is a compulsively watchable Yangtso, alluring and mysterious in equal measure. Tibetan comedy star Shide Nyima is brilliant as a shepherd struggling to stay grounded while feeling his way into a bewilderingly modern world. Can his moral universe encompass the possibility of an entirely new life?" —Vancouver International Film Festival

"Issues of identity, clashes of culture and the nitty-gritty of sheep-herding are the themes which drive Tibetan director Pema Tseden’s beguiling fable THARLO ... This is a beautifully judged picture from a director to note."ScreenDaily

World Premiere in Venice Film Festival, 2015 Orizzonti Section
Asian Premiere at Busan International Film Festival, 2015 A Window on Asian Cinema
Best Adapted Screenplay, 2015 Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival
Grand Prize, Student Jury Prize, 2015 Tokyo FILMeX
Cyclo d'Or, INALCO Prize, 2015 Vesoul Asian Film Festival
2015 Vancouver International Film Festival
2015 La Orquidera International Film Festival
2015 Brisbane Asia Pacific Film Festival
2016 Black Movie Geneva
2016 Gøteborg Film Festival
2016 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival
2016 Wisconsin Film Festival
2016 Atlantic Film Festival

123 minutes / b&w
In Tibetan with English subtitles
Release: 2016
Copyright: 2015
Sale: $398

Subject areas:
Asia, China, Cinema Studies, Indigenous Peoples, dGenerate Films Collection - Narratives

Related Links:
The Films of Pema Tseden

Related Titles:
Old Dog: A family on the Himalayan plains discovers their dog is worth a fortune, but selling it comes at a terrible price.

Paths of the Soul: An astonishing journey of redemption, faith, and devotion, following a group of villagers who leave their families and homes to make a Buddhist "bowing pilgrimage" to the holy capital of Tibet.

The Search: A film crew travels through Tibet, searching for actors for their adaptation of a classic Buddhist story.

'Til Madness Do Us Part: The daily lives and isolation of a group of men locked on one floor of a Chinese city's psychiatric institution.

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Last Updated January 3, 2017
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