Balloon / Qiqiu
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Balloon transports us to the spectacular landscapes of the Tibetan plateau, where we meet Darje (Jinpa) and Drolkar (Sonam Wangmo), who live in a remote shepherding community. Their harmonious life is upset when unruly sons take their last remaining condom and blow it up like a balloon! With no easy source of a new supply, what started as a cheeky misdemeanour turns into a full blown (excuse the pun) ethical dilemma, when Droklar becomes pregnant. With China’s one child policy and Buddhist ideals of reincarnation, they face both a ruinous fine and the scorn of their community. Loaded with fascinating ethnographic detail, inventive cinematic flourishes and a wry sense of humour, Balloon is a deceptively simple study of the clash between faith, state and modernity.
Balloon has won 10 awards at festivals across the globe, including the Sfera 1932 Award - Special Mention at Venice 2019, the Silver Hugo for Best Screenplay at the 2019 Chicago International Film Festival, the Best Film, New Asian Cinema award at the 2019 Five Flavours Asian Film Festival and the Grand Prize at Tokyo FILMeX 2019. The film also has a 100% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
“Both a gorgeously intimate family drama and an idiosyncratic artistic statement flecked with humor and sorrow, but alive always to the co-existence of the banal with the spiritual.” - Jessica Kiang, Variety.
“Balloon is a family drama in a realist mode, with a strong quasi-documentary ethnographic streak. But it also has a pensive philosophical dimension and a style that is open to moments of reverie verging on magic realism.” - Jonathan Romney, Screen International.