• Film

New Asian Cinema: Balloon (Qi Qiu) China

The HFPA’s Ting Ting Xu examines Asian film trends through standout films and the authors behind them.

Paths of the Soul, Tian Zhuangzhuang’s The Horse Thief and a propaganda film Red River Valley. Now there’s a newly emerging Tibetan cinema in China of which the sixth-generation director Pema Tseden, who makes his films entirely in the Tibetan language, is a leading filmmaker.

 Shy and conservative, Drolkar feels embarrassed when she goes to the village clinic and asks for condoms: after all, she grew up in a highly repressed culture and no one in her life has ever even talked about birth control. One day, her two young sons discover the condoms hidden under their parents’ pillows. They blow them up and play around thinking they are just balloons. When the villagers find out that Drolkar and Dargye let their boys play with condoms, angry local fathers scold Dargye for his sons’ behavior.

mso-bidi-font-style:italic’> also marks the third collaboration between cinematographer Lu Songye and Tseden after their films Tharlo and Jinpa. The magnificent landscape and heightened beauty of the Tibetan village where the story takes place infuse the film with an engaging mixture of realism and poetic fiction. Though the film is about the one-child policy and the controversial impact it had on Tibetan families, Tseden does not pick sides in the film; instead, he simply shows a family’s life affected by the government’s decision. The film has garnered several awards on the international market, including Best Screenplay at the 5th Chicago International Film Festival and Best Director at the 20th Tokyo FILMeX.