Sonthar Gyal, a Tibetan debutant director has won the prestigious 18th annual Dragons & Tigers Award for Young Cinema at the ongoing Vancouver International Film Festival for his road film The Sun Beaten Path.
Gyal who is from Amdo, eastern Tibet had earlier worked as cinematographer for “The Search” and “Old Dog”, both directed by award winning Tibetan director Pema Tseden.
Announcing the award, which comes with a cash prize of $10,000, the jury “admired the movie’s remarkable cinematic qualities and its ability to tell a moving story with complex emotions through one face and one landscape.”
“We were also impressed by the way the film draws such distinctive characters and by its persuasive evocation of Tibetan culture. It brings us a powerful voice from a new ethnic cinema.”
The movie starring Tibetan actors Yeshe Lhadruk, Lo Kyi and Kalsang Rinchen in the lead roles had a gala screening last week at the Vogue Theatre, Vancouver.
The Sun Beaten Path portrays the homeward journey of an emotionally troubled man Nyima (Yeshe Lhadruk), returning to his hometown of Gormo, eastern Tibet from a pilgrimage to the ancient Tibetan capital of Lhasa to overcome the guilt of accidently running over his mother in a road mishap. Set in the vast, austere landscape of the Tibetan Plateau, Nyima meets a weathered old man (Lo Kyi) who insists on accompanying him.
Reviewing the movie for the Epoch Times, Katherine Krampol writes: “The old man’s merry and simple wisdom brings a light to Nyima’s dark passage. In between cellphone conversations with his son and hysterical daughter, the old man penetrates Nyima’s isolation with stories on the transient nature of life; the loss of his one remaining tooth becomes just another event pointing to a larger unfolding”.
“Through their quiet voyage together, Gyal depicts the mysterious way pain deepens the human experience and binds us together. In the end what emerges from the director’s stark landscapes and minimalist dialogue is an unembellished beauty of being that makes way for Nyma’s rebirth”, Krampol adds.
The Dragons & Tigers Award is given annually to an innovative film made by an up and coming East Asian director.