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All 10 Pema Tseden Movies Reviewed

All 10 Pema Tseden Movies Reviewed
Pema Tseden (པད་མ་ཚེ་བརྟན།), born in 1969, is the first Tibetan alumni of the prestigious Beijing Film Academy graduating from the director’s department. He also studied Chinese-Tibetan translation and worked as a teacher and a civil servant. He is not only a sensitive and highly regarded director, portraying the modern Tibet with attention, accuracy and poetic touch, but also an esteemed writer, whose works have been translated into several languages. Although portraying ethnic minorities is a delicate topic in China, so far he has managed to deal with censors well, as all of his movies got approval. “The Silent Holy Stones”, his debut feature-length film in 2005, the very first feature shot in Tibet with a Tibetan crew, Tibetan actors and in Tibetan language. His following films got selected at international film festivals. As a fiction author, he both writes in Chinese and Tibetan. His books have been translated in several languages.
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Hkiffs Returns to Theatres with CineFest

Hkiffs Returns to Theatres with CineFest
The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society (Hkiffs) today announces a series of special in-theatre screenings to mark the reopening of cinemas in Hong Kong.

The CineFest series will feature films from the previously cancelled 44th Hong Kong International Film Festival (HKIFF44) and Cine Fan programmes, including this year’s Firebird Award winners.

Supported by Create Hong Kong and the Film Development Fund, all screenings will take place daily for five weeks from 30 September at K11 Art House in Tsim Sha Tsui.

Hkiffs Executive Director Albert Lee said Hkiffs would announce weekly line-ups and screening schedules starting today.

“Despite this year’s cancellations and disruptions, we have not stopped anticipating ways to re-engage Hong Kong’s film-lovers and to share our choices and discoveries with them once the situation returns to normal,” Mr Lee said.

To ensure public safety, Hkiffs will continue to comply with every in-theatre health measure mandated
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New Wong Kar-Wai Project ‘Chungking Express 2020’ Approved by China

New Wong Kar-Wai Project ‘Chungking Express 2020’ Approved by China
Chinese authorities have registered and approved a new project written by Hong Kong-based auteur Wong Kar-wai, listed as “Chungking Express 2020.”

According to an official filing on the National Film Bureau’s website, the script was submitted for government approval in Shanghai in April, and was approved on Wednesday, Sept. 23. This means it can now move forward with plans for production.

The project was listed by Shanghai Fanhuali Development Company, a firm that is also involved in the TV serial “Blossoms,” which credits Wong as creator and producer. The company has previously been involved in just two films: Pema Tseden’s arthouse stunner “Jinpa,” and, incongruously, “Atm,” a slapstick-y 2019 remake of a Thai rom-com.

The filing offers a short, but slightly cryptic, plot summary: “In ’90s Hong Kong, broken-hearted Policeman 223 encounters a blonde female assassin, and they spend a short time together overnight. Policeman 663, who also is getting over heartbreak, sees
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‘Parasite’ Leads Asian Film Awards Nominations

‘Parasite’ Leads Asian Film Awards Nominations
Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning “Parasite” leads the race of this year’s Asian Film Awards, which will be hosted in his home country South Korea for the first time since the prize ceremony’s inception in 2007. The acclaimed drama picked up 10 nominations, including best film, best director and best screenplay.

Parasite” was closely followed by Wang Xiaoshuai’s drama “So Long, My Son” from mainland China, and Taiwan drama “A Sun” by Chung Mong-hong. They each scored seven nominations including best film and best director, organizers of the 14th Asian Film Awards announced on Wednesday. A total of 39 films from 11 countries and regions are competing for the awards.

Founded by the Hong Kong International Film Festival Society, the AFAs have been staged in Hong Kong and Macau since their launch. In 2013, three major film festivals in Asia — Busan, Hong Kong and Tokyo — joined hands to launch the non-profit Afa Academy,
See full article at Variety »

'Parasite' heads nominations for first Asian Film Awards hosted by Busan

'Parasite' heads nominations for first Asian Film Awards hosted by Busan
The Asian Film Awards Academy has decided to announce the winners online on October 14.

Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite leads the nominations for this year’s Asian Film Awards (Afa) – hosted by Busan International Film Festival and the first to be held outside of Hong Kong and Macau – with ten nominations including best film and best director.

The Asian Film Awards Academy (Afaa), comprising the Hong Kong, Tokyo and Busan international film festivals, announced during last year’s Busan that the 14th Afa ceremony would be held in the South Korean city this year. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers
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Asean Festival Running With Live Audiences in Bangkok

Asean Festival Running With Live Audiences in Bangkok
Social unrest and the Covid-19 pandemic have not been able to stop the sixth edition of the Bangkok Asean Film Festival from taking place as an in-person event. It runs this week Sept. 3-6, 2020.

The four-day festival features a line-up of films from Asean member nations including “Rom” by Tran Thanh Huy from Vietnam, “The Science of Fictions” by Yosep Anggi Noen from Indonesia and “The Long Walk” by Mattie Do from Laos. China’s “Balloon” by Pema Tseden and Koji Fukada’s “A Girl Missing” from Japan will also be screened. The festival will also present a lifetime achievement award to veteran actress Petchara Chaowarat, who appeared in 300 films during the golden age of Thai cinema from the 1960s to the end of 1970s.

Fifteen short films competing for the best short, jury prize and special mention will be presented as part of the Asean Short Film Competition. Award
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8 Great Sinophone Films of 2016

8 Great Sinophone Films of 2016
2016 has been very interesting year for all of the sinophone world, with a plethora of very interesting productions, both cinematically (Tharlo) and in terms of controversy (Ten Years). Art-house and Hk action could not be missing, while Derek Tsang directed a very impressive drama (SoulMate).

With a focus on diversity, here are the best Sinophone films of 2016, in random order. Some films may have premiered in 2015, but since they became widely known in 2016, are also included. Films like “The Tenants Downastairs”, “Godspeed” and “The Summer is Gone” seem like films that could have also been included, but since I have not watched them, I could not put them in this list.

1. Ten Years (Ng Ka-leung)

Despite the fact that it was produced on a budget of merely Hk$500,000, with a cast and crew mainly comprised of volunteers, “Ten Years” was one of the most successful films of the last years,
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Hong Kong Festival Unveils World Film Selection

Hong Kong Festival Unveils World Film Selection
Roy Andersson’s “About Endlessness” and Tsai Ming-liang’s “Days” are among the highlights of the Masters and Auteurs section of the upcoming Hong Kong International Film Festival. The festival will hold screenings in front of live audiences next month.

It had originally been scheduled to take place in March, but was postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak. The 44th edition will now run Aug. 18-31.

“Endlessness” earned Andersson the best director award at the Venice festival last year. While another selection, Pedro Costa’s “Vitalina Varela” earned the top prize at the Locarno festival last August.

Other films in the section include: “Balloon” by Pema Tseden; “Ema” by Pablo Larrain; “It Must Be Heaven,” by Elia Suleiman; “Marghe and Her Mother” by Mohsen Makhmalbaf; and “The Cordillera of Dreams” by Patricio Guzman.

The festival says that it expects to round out the section with other titles by Bruno Dumont,
See full article at Variety »

Interview with Sonthar Gyal: I dare not say that my films represent real Tibet

Interview with Sonthar Gyal: I dare not say that my films represent real Tibet
Sonthar Gyal was born in the Tibetan region of Amdo Qinghai. His father was a primary school teacher who was the first person to graduate from college in the region. Sonthar Gyal studied at the Tsolho Nationalities Teacher Training College in Hainan (Tsolho) Prefecture and taught in the nomadic community for four years. Afterwards he received a scholarship to study fine arts at the Qinghai Normal University in Xining. After graduating in 2003 with a B.A. in Fine Arts, he worked as an art teacher and a curator at the Tongde Cultural Museum.

Encouraged by his friend Pema Tseden, Sonthar Gyal followed him to the prestigious Beijing Film Academy, where he studied cinematography for 2 years with the support of Trace Foundation. Upon graduation, he worked as a cinematographer and artistic director for a series of films and documentaries, many directed by Pema Tseden. He made his directorial debut in 2011 with
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Film Review: Flares Wafting in 1983 (2008) by Pema Tseden

Film Review: Flares Wafting in 1983 (2008) by Pema Tseden
Pema Tseden has, currently, set himself on the path he always wanted, of portraying the real Tibet through a combination of accuracy and artistry. Before becoming famous and financially able to follow his own path, however, he also had to do some commissioned work, with “Flares Wafting in 1983”, a TV movie for China Movie Channel in the Putonghua-language (and not in a Tibetan-dialect as his latest films), falling under this category.

The script is based on the homonymous novel by Wang Shiyue, and revolves around two brothers growing up in a small village. The older one, Zhongqiu, has taken the exams to be accepted to a technical school in Beijing, a potential success that would be a first for the village. Expectedly, Zhongqiu, who also likes to paint, is under much pressure from both his father and the local community to succeed. The younger one, Liuyi, who also functions as the narrator of the story,
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Documentary Short Review: The Weatherman’s Legacy (2004) by Pema Tseden

Documentary Short Review: The Weatherman’s Legacy (2004) by Pema Tseden
Back in 2004, Pema Tseden shot this documentary short for Discovery Channel Asia, which focuses on the waning concept of the Weathermen, Buddhist shamans who are considered to have the ability to influence the weather in favor of the farmers. The documentary is shot in Pema Tseden’s hometown, and follows one of the last of such men.

The elderly man continues the tradition of practicing his hailstorm-stopping and rain-making abilities, which has been going on for generations. However, he is saddened to see the concept of the Weatherman disappearing, both due to technology and because the generation following, and particularly his son, have their minds elsewhere. The documentary also presents the connection between shamanism and Buddhism and the history of the concept of the weathermen.

Discovery Channel seemed to have a distinct purpose of presenting the mystery surrounding these men, with the somewhat pompous English narration giving the film an almost forced ritualistic essence.
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Film Review: Tharlo (2015) by Pema Tseden

Film Review: Tharlo (2015) by Pema Tseden
In order to tell a story having the face of a character in front of you can help to have a foundation as a writer. In the case of Pema Tseden’s “Tharlo” a face was indeed the starting point first for his novel and later on its film adaptation, the image of a man with a ponytail, as he explains in an interview with Tony Huang. In general, the physical features, especially the face, may lead to various associations about the personality, the occupation, the family as well as the various experiences the character has gone through or has to go through since these are part of the story you want to tell. Considering this was Tseden’s starting point it should not come as a surprise he has made a feature about the struggle with one’s identity, about the longing to deviate from a path which feels
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Book Review: Enticement by Pema Tseden

Book Review: Enticement by Pema Tseden
In general perception, Tibet has long been subject of mythologization. Western movies tend to portray it as the spiritual and magical kingdom of contemplative landscapes, with colorful prayer flags blowing in the wind against the backdrop of clear blue skies. A daily routine is a construct of rituals performed by mysterious monks stripped of any individuality as if they were heavenly creatures, not humans of flesh and blood. However, the audience familiar with the works of Tibetan director Pema Tseden knows the more accurate and de-idealized picture. Pema Tseden, due to his valuable insider’s perspective, shows the ordinary reality of his country. Not all his fans may know that this acclaimed movie maker, whose films have been shown worldwide including the lineups of prestigious festivals, is also a wordsmith. He writes both in Tibetan and Chinese and in his writing, same as in his films, he portrays his compatriots
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Film Review: The Search (2009) by Pema Tseden

Film Review: The Search (2009) by Pema Tseden
Pema Tseden’s second feature film is a landmark for Tibetan cinema, being the first ever film from the country to be shot entirely with a Tibetan crew in the Tibetan language, while it is also noteworthy that the production was supported by renowned Chinese 5th Generation filmmaker Tian Zhuangzhuang

A director, a cinematographer and a producer drive through the Amdo region of Tibet, scouting actors for the “Drime Kunden” opera, which is traditionally performed for the Tibetan New Year and revolves around a prince who, selflessly, gives away his wife, his children and his own eyes to those in need. Eventually, they reach a village where they find the perfect actress to play Made Zangmo, Drime Kunden’s wife. However, the girl is very shy, and furthermore, will not perform unless her boyfriend, who has left the village to find a job in the city, plays the lead. The
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »

Cinemasia Film Festival Announces Winners

Cinemasia Film Festival Announces Winners
After an extremely successful five days, the 13th edition of CinemAsia Film Festival has come to a close. The festival had its highest seat occupancy ever and the program also enjoyed great public acclaim. As is tradition, during the Closing Ceremony of the 13th edition of CinemAsia Film Festival, the Competition Jury Award and the new Tao Kae Noi Young Critics Award were presented last night. The winners received an award specially designed by Megan Carapezza (artist and designer). The Taiwanese film Heavy Craving, which represents a strong female narrative of body shaming for international women’s day and was screened as Closing Film, was particularly well received by the audience.

Competition Jury Award

The Competition Jury, consisting of Aileen Li (Producer Detention), Inge de Leeuw (Programmer Iffr), Julian Ross (Programmer Iffr / Locarno), Floortje Smit (Film Journalist De Volkskrant) and Pete Wu (Writer and journalist), unanimously chose the Chinese “Balloon“, directed by Pema Tseden.
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Helsinki Cine Aasia 2020 programme is out

Helsinki Cine Aasia 2020 programme is out
Helsinki Cine Aasia 2020 celebrates versatile Asian cinema

Celebrating its eighth edition, Helsinki Cine Aasia is the only festival of contemporary Asian cinema in Finland. This year the festival hosts the Finnish premieres of 18 films from eight East and Southeast Asian countries. In addition, a series of classic films based on traditional East Asian theater is screened at Kino Regina. Helsinki Cine Aasia takes place at Korjaamo, Kino Regina and Cinema Orion from Thursday March 12 to Sunday March 15, 2020.

Helsinki Cine Aasia 2020 opens with the Tibetan film “Balloon”. The latest film from Tibet’s best-known filmmaker Pema Tseden has already won accolades at several film festivals, including Venice and Chicago, as well as the main prize at Tokyo FILMeX. Set in Tibet in the 1980’s during the one-child policy, the warm-hearted and slightly humorous film illustrates the difficulties of combining the traditional with the modern. A Buddhist couple raising a herd of
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‘Jinpa’: Film Review

‘Jinpa’: Film Review
After roaming for more than a year on the international festival circuit, “Jinpa” — the latest effort from Tibetan director Pema Tseden — has finally launched a limited run in U.S. art houses, where it might find an appreciative if occasionally perplexed audience for its idiosyncratic mix of deadpan wit and understated mysticism. The movie is by repeatedly hinting at a potential for melodramatic upheaval. Ultimately, however, Tseden finds an audaciously different way to pull the rug out from under us.

Set in the rugged territory of the Kekexili Plateau, an isolated Tibetan region with an average elevation of more than 16,000 meters, “Jinpa” begins by introducing us to its title character, a grizzled long-distance trucker (played by an actor whose name also is Jinpa), as he traverses a seemingly endless road across a spectacularly barren landscape. He appears genuinely upset by the prospect of bad karma when he accidentally rolls over,
See full article at Variety »

Film Review: Old Dog (2011) by Pema Tseden

Film Review: Old Dog (2011) by Pema Tseden
Within the hearts and minds of many non-Westernised peoples wages an eternal generational war; between the young and the old, the old and the new, groups struggle amongst themselves to mark their own cultural identities. Pema Tseden has been one such voice caught in the crossfires of such a struggle with his films chronicling the Tibetan way of life with excruciating detail against an invisible yet potent threat of modernization always lurking on the fringes. With his 2011 portrait of humdrum mundanity he pushes both the limits of pacing and audience patience to the extreme; on its surface “Old Dog” offers nothing more than simple thoroughfare with as bare-bones a plot as possible, but descend deeper into the film’s (albeit overt) symbolism and a wealth of rumination is up for grabs.

“Old Dog” screened at Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinemas

After a spate of dognapping across the village,
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Film Review: The Silent Holy Stones (2005) by Pema Tseden

Film Review: The Silent Holy Stones (2005) by Pema Tseden
Pema Tseden was the first Tibetan graduate of the Beijing Film Academy and his feature debut was a definite sample of the impressive productions that were about to follow, with “The Silent Holy Stones” netting him newcomer awards from Golden Rooster, Busan and Shanghai, among others.

“The Silent Holy Stones” is screening at

Festival des Cinémas d’Asie de Vesoul

The story takes place in the Guwa region, where our protagonist, “Little Lama”, is assigned to attend to the seven-year-old Living Buddha (tulku) of a mountain monastery. The two boys train and play together, but their real fun is watching TV, the only channel and the only Vcd available to them. During Tibetan New Year’s celebration, Little Lama returns to his home village, where his brother, who works in Lhasa, has also bought a TV, along with VCDs of the popular Chinese television series Journey to the West, and
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Film Review: The Sacred Arrow (2012) by Pema Tseden

Film Review: The Sacred Arrow (2012) by Pema Tseden
It takes a certain magic to lose an audience within the simplistic grandeur of a world almost far-removed from the rest of civilization; to educate in the ways of your forefathers with little in the way of preachiness; to allow those age-old traditions sing in near-perfect harmony. Yet, for all these sublime touches Pema Tseden conjures with effortless ease here on “Sacred Arrow”, his morality tale of pseudo-sportsman rivalry broiling over into village life deals little in the way of actual conflict, and at times feels more like the enabling of immature, petty squabbling between two siblings who simply need a clipping behind the ears. So why then are we so captivated by what is unfolding before our eyes?

“The Sacred Arrow” screened at

Festival des Cinémas d’Asie de Vesoul

The centuries-old archery competition between Lhalong and Damo villages determines more than just the superior archer but is also
See full article at AsianMoviePulse »
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