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Tharlo

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. 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.