Wangdrak's Rain Boots
Wangzha de yuxie
Gateway | Gateway
The one thing primary school student Wangdrak (Druklha Dorje) wants in life is a pair of colourful plastic rain boots, just like his classmates. When he’s teased at school for his footwear, his older female classmate Lhamo (Pakmo Yangdrom) defends him. But his father (Jinpa), an impoverished Tibetan barley farmer, decides there is no money for boots. Wangdrak’s mother (Shanma Jyi) becomes an ally when an itinerant merchant brings a cart of housewares to their village, including a pair of dazzling boots. Things become more complicated when father, preparing to harvest his barley, calls on a local shaman to ward off potentially damaging rains. But Wangdrak wants just the opposite: rain to show off his boots. And he and Lhamo have a plan…
Lhapal Gyal’s gentle, luminously beautiful first feature was shot in Amdo, a Tibetan region of Qinghai province, and produced by Pema Tseden, whose Jinpa is also showing in this series. Here, a child’s dreams and steadfast determination prepare him to confront life on terms he learns to define against a background of modernizing rural Tibetan society. Tibetan women, notably, bring their energy and creativity to a subtle confrontation with traditional rural patriarchy that might open new possibilities for Wangdrak and his family. A film fable designed to delight children, which will be equally enchanting for grown-ups.
— Shelly Kraicer