Dargye and Drolkar's two boisterous youngest sons have blown up their parents' condoms like balloons. Not only does this outrage the entire village in Tibet in the early 1980s, but more practically: they have no more condoms. The shepherd couple already have three sons, and as China has recently introduced its one-child policy, they can't have any more. But Dargye is as horny as one of his stud rams, so some form of contraception is essential.
Once China's one-child policy was relaxed in 2015 – now permitting two children per family – space opened up for films examining the consequences of the measure. Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden takes a drily comic approach to the subject, captured in deceptively simple handheld footage full of implicit symbolism. In his world, there is no chasm between modernity and tradition; rather, the two gently rub against each other.
This screening will be followed by a pre-recorded Q&A with director Pema Tseden chaired by Dr. Victor Fan, Reader in Film Studies at King’s College, London. The interview is conducted in Mandarin and will have English subtitles. (37mins)
Wednesday 27 screening will be preceded by an in-person introduction by Drukthar Gyal (host of ‘The Intelligence Tibet’ podcast) who will provide social and political context to the story of ‘Balloon’ and introduce the work of renowned Tibetan director Pema Tseden.