Fri 24th March – 19:30 Terry O’Toole Theatre
China 2019
Dir: Pema Tseden
Cert 12A
102 mins
Starring: Sonam Wangmo, Jinpa, Yangshik Tso

Like the director’s previous “Tharlo”, shown at LFS a few years ago, “Balloon” takes us into a Tibetan society steeped in ancient tradition, but also striving to reach some sort of compromise with the modern world. In particular it focuses on the issue of family planning, the film being set in the early 1980s when the Chinese government first enacted its “one child” policy. Sheep farmer Dargye and his wife Drolkar already have three children, so it is imperative for them to have no more, thus avoiding a crippling fine. However, problems arise when the couple’s two youngest sons steal their parents’ condoms and use them as balloons! When Drolkar falls pregnant for a fourth time and an abortion is deemed necessary her husband demurs, believing the unborn foetus to be the reincarnation his recently deceased father. “Balloon” captivates both as slice of life social realism and as a drily comic depiction of culture clash.