Pema Tseden

Pema Tseden himself considers it sad that only now, after one hundred years of cinema history, the first Tibetan filmmaker has emerged. But the first is already a master, with three brilliant features to date. Known also in Chinese as Wanma Caidan, Pema Tseden was born in 1969 in the Tibetan ethnic region of Amdo, in Qinghai province, China, to nomadic herder parents. He graduated as a mature student from the Beijing Film Academy in 2004, the year he shot his first feature The Silent Holy Stones. This film established his subsequent practice: his films’ dialogues are in a Tibetan dialect (with bits of Mandarin Chinese); he shoots with an entirely Tibetan crew and a non-professional Tibetan cast, in and around the Tibetan areas where he grew up. And he is the first director of Chinese nationality to do this. His subject is also consistent: the contemporary culture and life of Tibet, shot from within local society, a practice that consciously puts his films in deliberate contrast to the exoticizing fiction features about Tibet that have been produced by outsiders, both Chinese and foreign. [Shelly Kraicer]

Pema Tseden Filmography

 

Poster for the movie "Tharlo"

Tharlo

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 … Read more

Old Dog

A story of an aged sheepherder, his gruff grown son (who’s having trouble conceiving a child with his wife) and the old man’s Tibetan mastiff hound – a highly prized breed, much sought after by urban Chinese – whose existence is imperiled from all sides.

The Search

A filmmaker searches the Himalayas for an actor and actress to play the lead roles in his Tibetan opera.

The Silent Holy Stones

A young Tibetan monk goes back home for the New Year’s celebrations. Fascinated by television, he wants to bring his family’s television to the monastery to show it to his master.