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Ala Changso

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When young Tibetan farmer Drolma (a radiant Nyima Sungsung) receives news she’s seriously ill, she decides to go on a pilgrimage to Lhasa. For her, this means a gruelling, year-long walk over Tibetan mountain roads, during which she must prostrate herself every three steps. Drolma’s gruff, loving husband Dorje (well-known singer/actor Yungdrung Gyal) hesitates but can’t say no to her. Before she leaves, she visits the home of her parents, who have been raising her severely uncommunicative, now 10-year-old son Norbu (a mesmerizing Sechok Gyal). Drolma sets of with two female friends who, faced with miserable weather (it’s cold and raining) and the rigours of carrying her equipment and sleeping outdoors, end up abandoning her part way. But Dorje brings Norbu to join her on the road, and the family has an opportunity to relearn and build anew their emotional relationships. Secret intimate sadnesses and unexpected connections emerge, gently infusing this profoundly beautiful, deceptively simple family road movie and transforming it into a delicate psychological and spiritual journey.

Sonthar Gyal started as art director and cinematographer for Pema Tseden. His first film as director, The Sun Beaten Path, concerned the rigours of returning from a Lhasa pilgrimage, and won our VIFF Dragons and Tigers award in 2011.
Shelly Kraicer

Grand Jury Prize: Best Screenplay, Shanghai 18


North American premiere
Director Sonthar Gyal
Country of Origin: China
Year: 2018
Running Time: 115 mins
Format: DCP
Language:In Tibetan with English subtitles
Cast: Yungdrung Gyal, Nyima Sungsung, Sechok Gyal, Jinpa, Guru Tsetan, Zhang Wenqing
Producer: Du Qingchun, Sonthar Gyal, Liang Zonghao
Screenwriter: Tashi Dawa, Sonthar Gyal
Cinematographer: Wang Weihua
Editor: Tsering Wangshug, Sangdak Jyab
Music: Yang Yong
Art Director: Tsering Dondrub, Dakte Dondrub
Print Source: Sonthar Gyal

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