Distributor:  dGenerate Films
Length:  123 minutes
Date:  2016
Genre:  Expository
Language:  English / English subtitles
Color/BW:  Black and White
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Tibetan director Pema Tseden adapts his own novella about the story of a Tibetan shepherd's encounter with the big city.


'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?'

'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 Goteborg Film Festival
** 2016 Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival
** 2016 Wisconsin Film Festival
** 2016 Atlantic Film Festival


Main credits

Pad-ma-tshe-brtan (film director)
Gao, Hong (film prodcuer)
Sun, Jialin (film producer)
Wu, Leilei (film producer)
Wang, Sean (film producer)
Shide Nyima (actor)
Tso, Yangshik (actor)

Other credits

Cinematography, Songye Lu; editor, Song Bing; music, Wang Jue.

Distributor credits

A film by Pema Tseden

Docuseek2 subjects

Film and Video Studies
Indigenous Studies

Distributor subjects

Cinema Studies
Indigenous Peoples
dGenerate Films Collection - Narratives


Tibet; Pema Tseden; Tharlo; shephard; Shide Nyima; Yangshik Tso; culture; "Tharlo"; Icarus Films

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