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Important notice

In light of the current challenges related to the coronavirus the film club committee has decided to cancel the rest of the Spring Season 2020. We hope to be back with a new season as usual in the autumn. In the meantime let us look after one another and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

 

Tharlo, the film scheduled for this Thursday is not available. Instead the Indian film Court will be screened.

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Director: Pema Tseden
Tibet, China 2015
123 minutes
Cert: Club
 

 

Issues of identity, clashes of culture and the nitty-gritty of sheep-herding are the themes in this film. The central character, a simple shepherd finds the certainties of his austere, isolated existence called into question when he is sent to the nearest town to be photographed for an ID card. This is a slow burning piece of storytelling which moves at the same unhurried, methodical pace as life in the steppes.

The film shows us a country where deep-rooted traditions and a rich cultural history co-exist uneasily with the encroaching tide of modernity. Tharlo is a man full of contradictions. He has an exceptional memory and can still recite the huge, unwieldy chunks of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book that he learned as a nine-year-old. But he can’t remember how old he is – his rough estimate is “past 40, I guess”.

When he is informed by the local police chief that he must get an ID card, he is bewildered. “I know who I am. Isn’t that enough?”. But he complies. The photographer takes issue with his straggly, unwashed hair and sends him across the road to a barbers. It’s here that he has the fateful encounter that will change the course of his life.

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