Paper Republic: Chinese Literature Matters

From the inside, in Black and White: Tharlo, A Tibetan shepherd, by Pema Tseden

Away from the reach of the state, at least in his adult life, Tharlo’s seemingly only link with material modernity is his motorbike and his radio. But a new rule has decreed that all citizens of the People’s Republic of China must possess an identity card, including those living in such remote territories as Amdo (north-eastern Tibet, current Qinghai province).

The state’s edict finally reaches Tharlo, and the film follows him over a period of a few days, caught between two worlds: his familiar, rural, austere environment, where he takes care of three hundred sheep, and an nearby emerging half-Tibetan, half-Chinese town, where he has to go to complete the administrative formality.


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