Gateway | Gateway
Pema Tseden’s spectacularly beautiful tale of fertility, passion, love, and loss on the Tibetan grasslands is his most moving film yet. This outstanding Tibetan director is no stranger to VIFF, since his first film The Silent Holy Stones premiered in our Dragons & Tigers competition in 2005. His recent work features a new flavour of magical humour while retaining his spectacular visual compositions and deep philosophical engagement with Tibetan culture.
Balloon starts comically: two little brothers play with a "balloon," which is actually a condom they’ve found in their parents’ bedroom. Their mother, Drolkar, the heart and soul of the film, is trying to cope with her fantastically virile sheep-breeder husband Dargye. Meanwhile her sister Shangchu Drolma unexpectedly returns home: she’s become a nun after having her heart broken by bespectacled Tibetan writer/teacher Dakbum Gyal. Grandfather lives with them: his love for the two little boys makes their pastoral home glow. But things take darker, unexpected turns: the dead, the reincarnated, and the living interweave mysteriously and ambiguously as this part-realist, part-hallucinatory world slowly catches emotional fire.
— Shelly Kraicer