Kino Světozor

Tharlo

 

(Tharlo) Director: Pema Tseden, RC, 2016, Tibetan, Chinese with English and Czech subtitles, 123 min

Tibet, a country that finds itself at a crossroads between tradition and modernity, the rudimentary rural existence and the temptations of the city, is the subject as well as the backdrop of this strikingly beautiful fable. Tharlo nicknamed "Ponytail" for the long braid down his back, a goatherd, can still recite the huge indigestible chunks of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book that he learned as a nine-year-old. A simple man, he is not sure of his own age and lives by the black-and-white moral code of a child. When he is sent to the city to get an ID card, a chain of events is set in motion. He meets a young woman who could change all that... but will she?

The use of sound is particularly effective. In the city, Tharlo is buffeted by layers of noise; at home on the steppes, he listens to wispy fragments of folk songs on his radio. Shot in arresting black-and-white, using long, meditative takes and locked shots, this is a film that requires investment on the part of the viewer. It repays the effort – it’s deeply political, romantic and philosophical narrative fable from Tseden, one of Tibet's leading contemporary artists. The author is not new to our festival. In previous years we presented other movies from this director.


 

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