Tharlo is an orphan. Now grown up, he makes a living as a sheep herder in the village. He has grown a ponytail, so people simply call him “Ponytail”, since nobody remembers his real name anyway. Tharlo has a remarkable memory. He remembers so many things, except his own name. He is now in his forties, and he has yet to have his first woman. Now Tharlo goes to town to take a photo for his identity card. He meets a girl in the barber’s shop who changes the course of his life. He embarks on the journey to find his true self. He sells all his sheep and those entrusted by other villagers to him for care, and decides to use the money to go out into the world with the girl, only to find himself being deceived and cheated by her. Ironically, in his journey of self-discovery, Tharlo has lost his sense of self. As he witnesses in the mirror his ponytail being cut off and leaving him bald, he can no longer see himself as a man with a history that he recognizes.
- Best Adapted Screenplay - Taipei Golden Horse FF
- Grand Prize, Student Jury Prize - Tokyo FILMeX
- Cyclo d'Or, Prix INALCO - FI de Cinémas d'Asie de Vesoul
- Shide Nyima
- Yangshik Tso
- Pema Tseden
- Lu Songye
- Liao Ching-sung
Tharlo is typical of Tibetans of the present generation. This is a story that shows them in the state of confusion, disorientation and desensitisation. The film is made in black and white. The ruggedness in the images speaks of the situation and ambience of the vast lands of Tibet, and of the state of being of the protagonist.
- ASIAN SHADOWS
- HEAVEN PICTURES (BEIJING) CULTURE & MEDIA CO., LTD.
- BEIJING OCEAN & TIME CULTURE COMMUNICATION CO., LTD.
- BEIJING YIHE STAR FILM PRODUCTION LTD.
- NEW HEAVEN PICTURE (BEIJING) CULTURE & MEDIA CO., LTD.
The director employs some devices adeptly, so that he offers new interest to a well-trodden path.
The director proves to be a master of dilating time, while enchanting viewers with a nearly sensorial portrayal of solitude and disillusion.
A beautifully judged picture from a director to note.
Films are a medium of the new modern culture. But this is a new form of art in Tibet. I want to create a new system of culture.
Pema Tseden (Wan Ma Cai Dan), born in 1969 in Amdo, graduated from the Northwest University for Nationalities, Beijing Film Academy and Lu Xun College respectively. Chairman of the Directors Association of China, he is also a member of the Filmmakers and Literary Societies of China. Since 1991, he has published more than forty novels and short fiction in both Tibetan and Chinese. THARLO (2015), premiered at the Venice IFF, Orizzonti Competition. His latest film BALLOON (2019) had its world premiere in the Orizzonti section of the 76th Venice International Film Festival.