Keswick Film Club - Balloon

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Sunday 12th December 5:00 PM


Director: Pema Tseden Country: China
Cert: 12A Year: 2019 Length: 102 mins Language: Chinese and Tibetan

Programme Notes

Cinema Handout (PDF 199KB)

Audience Reaction

Score: 72.14% Attendance: 66



  • More details on this film at the Internet Movie Database


"Revolving around a ram-rearing family headed by two patriarchs, the film is, at first, deceptively male-centric. Dargye, the husband, talks often of buying virile stock for breeding. Staying in the background, his wife, Drolkar, is smilingly docile – yet her character slowly becomes the film’s central figure, and the site of contrasting credos. As the couple already have three children, Drolkar is dismayed to discover that she's pregnant again. She feels pressure to get an abortion since mainland China has imposed family planning on its population, which includes contested areas such as Tibet. On the other hand, her husband's Buddhist beliefs dictate that his recently deceased father is now reincarnated inside Drolkar's womb" - Phuong Le, Guardian.

"As a Tibetan director dedicated to illuminating, with love and insight, the everyday culture of his contested homeland, navigating China's labyrinthine and often-changing filmmaking approval processes cannot be an easy task. And yet, over the course of now seven films, despite or possibly because of those restrictions, Pema Tseden has amassed the most quietly inspiring of filmographies, his novelist's eye yielding storytelling far richer than just ethnography or social observation. His beautiful, funny and tragic newest film, 'Balloon' is a case in point — both a gorgeously intimate family drama and an idiosyncratic artistic statement flecked with humour and sorrow, but alive always to the co-existence of the banal with the spiritual" – Jessica Kiang, Variety.


open_quote Both a gorgeously intimate family drama and an idiosyncratic artistic statement flecked with humor and sorrow close_quote Jessica Kiang, Variety

open_quote A quiet but strong drama with moments of fascinating visual beauty. close_quote Edward Porter, Sunday Times



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