Award-winning director's existential journey

"Jinpa," a drama film which received a Best Screenplay award in the Horizons section at last year's 75th Venice International Film Festival, was released in China yesterday.
Ti Gong

Film director Pema Tseden

“Jinpa,” a drama film by director Pema Tseden, was released in China yesterday.

The film received a Best Screenplay award in the Horizons section at last year’s 75th Venice International Film Festival. 

The screenplay of "Jinpa," written by its director Tseden, has put two short stories together — one is “The Killer” by Tibetan writer Tsering Norbu, and the other is Tseden’s own short work of fiction “Jinpa.” 

The plot follows a lorry driver and a mysterious hitchhiker, on his way to kill a man to avenge his father’s death, who share a ride together. The experience changes their destinies. 

With Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai being the producer of the film, Wong also added plot and storyline suggestions.

The road movie, a poetic story of salvation, was filmed in extreme conditions on the Tibetan plateau. 

After a pre-release screening at Fudan University, director Tseden told the audience that his film dream started in childhood. He went on to add that he hopes to present more movies about Tibet’s distinctive culture and landscape. 

“Over the passing years, China has fostered a number of art film lovers,” said Tseden. “A mature film market always encourages diversity and original stories. It is such a good thing for us to present a movie for people all around the country.” 

The film will be distributed by the National Arthouse Film Screening Alliance, which was set up by the China Film Archive. The alliance is also the first cinema chain in the country to specialize in the distribution of art movies. 

Chinese artist Zhang Huan noted that the film’s story, which explores the complexities of humanity, shocked him, despite having a tranquil, dreamlike atmosphere and literary flavor. 

“The fascinating culture and charm of the plateau are also displayed with many poetic sequences,” Zhang added. 

The film’s early screenings have received critical acclaim from many movie buffs on the Internet. 

Some movie buffs compare this movie to Wong’s acclaimed “Ashes of Time.” 

“The cinematography is gorgeous,” said Netizen Nicky Liang. “The film also has a deep philosophical connotation about redemption. A dream can be the path taken.”

Movie buff Muggle said the movie portrays multi-facets of humanity and a sympathy for mankind. 

The film score used the famous Italian song “’O sole mio” in Tibetan language, which also implies a sense of destiny for the protagonists — their lives will still be full of sunshine.

Born in 1969, Tseden used to work as a primary school teacher and a civil servant after he graduated from the Northwest University for Nationalities, where he majored in Tibetan Language and Literature. With an enthusiasm for film, he advanced his studies at the Beijing Film Academy.

He revealed his talent in filmmaking as early as 2005 when he presented his directorial debut “The Silent Holy Stones.” The film received several awards, including the 25th Golden Rooster Awards and Best Director of Asian New Talent Award at the 9th Shanghai International Film Festival.

Tseden said many of his films are made on intuition. His credits also include romantic tale “Soul Searching” and “Tharlo,” a comedy-drama based on his own novel. 

Tseden’s movies record the lives and emotions of the Tibetan people, which gives audience around the world a chance to know better about the Tibet Autonomous Region.

Ti Gong

“Jinpa” was filmed in extreme conditions on the Tibetan plateau. 

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