Thiruvananthapuram

IFFK 2019 | Fisticuffs over a Balloon

Balloon tells the story of a family caught in a dilemma between following the laws and respecting their religious beliefs and traditions.

Balloon tells the story of a family caught in a dilemma between following the laws and respecting their religious beliefs and traditions.  

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A story set in Tibet around China’s strict family planning policies

Kids often get involved in a barter system, wherein they exchange their playthings with their friends, to get their hands on some coveted toy.

In Tibetan-Chinese film Balloon, screened in the world cinema category at the International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK), two brothers exchange their balloon to get a whistle from their friend.

This innocent exchange has far-reaching repercussions in the closely-knit village, with their fathers even ending up in a fistfight. Because, the balloon was just an inflated condom, which flying about inside the drawing room in a conservative household was mightily embarrassing for the elders. The film, weaved around China’s strict family planning policies in the1980s, looks at a family caught in a dilemma between following the laws and respecting their religious beliefs and traditions.

The family, which survives on the modest income from sheep-rearing, already has three kids, with Dargye, the father, struggling to pay the educational costs of the eldest one. One more kid would mean that they would have to pay a hefty fine to the Government, for flouting the law. But, when Dragye’s father dies, their religious belief that the departed soul would be reborn, makes him insist for one more kid. Drolkar, his wife, is not at all keen on the same.

As a digression appears the story of Drolkar’s sister, a Buddhist nun, who in the past had a romantic relationship which had gone sour. She bumps into the man, now her nephew’s professor, accidentally, bringing back all the bitter memories.

In an attempt to explain the past misunderstandings, he hands over a book, which supposedly tells their story.

Director Pema Tseden, who has made seven films till date, has in recent years been receiving much attention at major international film festivals, with his winning the Best Screenplay Award at the Venice International Film Festival last year being the high point. Balloon is a worthy addition to his filmography.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 5:25:45 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/fisticuffs-over-a-balloon/article30233758.ece

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