Old Dog
Pema Tseden

Old Dog

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OLD DOG

A feature film by Pema Tseden
88 minutes, 2011. DVD NTSC

Tibetan with English subtitles. China

A family on the Himalayan plains discovers their dog is worth a fortune, but selling it comes at a terrible price.

The Tibetan nomad mastiff is an exotic prize dog in China, fetching as much as millions of dollars from wealthy Chinese. When a young man notices several thefts of mastiffs from Tibetan farm families, he decides to sell his family's dog before it is stolen and sold on the black market. His father, an aging Tibetan herder, is furious when he discovers their dog missing. When the father seeks to buy the dog back, it leads to a series of tragicomic events that threaten to tear the family apart, while showing the erosion of Tibetan culture under the pressures of contemporary society.

Pema Tseden (The Silent Holy Stones, The Search) is the leading filmmaker of a newly emerging Tibetan cinema and the first director in China to film his movies entirely in the Tibetan language. His third feature Old Dog is both a humorous and tragic allegory and a sober depiction of life among the impoverished rural Tibetan community. 

REVIEWS

"Part neorealistic parable and part Jarmusch-like deadpan riff, Pema Tseden's sublime Tibetan drama focuses on a slackerish young man who decides to sell the family canine for some quick cash." — TimeOut New York

"Tseden's work is remarkable for shedding light on daily life in an oft-mythologized part of the world. In his films, Tibet isn't Shangri-La but neither is it just another part of China." — Steven Erickson, Sight & Sound

"Old Dog is subtle and affecting film making." — J. Hoberman, Artinfo

"Has the look and feel of a documentary, which adds senses of urgency and immediacy to a tale that moves at a languid, but never boring, pace." — The Village Voice

"Raw and resolute." — Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

"The most important independent Tibetan filmmaker now working in China." — Shelly Kraicer

"A beautiful, highly effective and moving statement about a culture in danger of disappearing." — James Mudge, Beyond Hollywood

"Spectacular!" — Leslie Felperin, Variety

"Perfectly incorporates the desolate living conditions of these outpost towns whilst magnificently capturing the majestic Himalayan scenery which surrounds them" — Patrick Gamble, CineVue

"Shows Tibet through Tibetan eyes, as it is lived and experienced by ordinary people" — The Culture Trip

AWARDS + FESTIVALS

Best Narrative Feature, Brooklyn Film Festival
Grand Prize, Tokyo FILMeX
Audience, Press, and Jury Awards, Cinema Digital Seoul Film Festival
Rotterdam International Film Festival
Vancouver International Film Festival
San Francisco International Film Festival
Slamdance Film Festival

 


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