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  • Director

    Pema Tseden

  • Starring

    Sonam Wangmo, Jinpa, Yangshik Tso, Druklha Dorje, Dudul

  • Run Time

    102 mins

  • Release Year


  • Country of Origin


  • Certificate

    12A - Contains moderate sex references, abortion references, domestic abuse.

  • Language

    Chinese; Tibetan

  • Subtitles


  • Format




Shot in a distinctive cold colour palette and featuring delicate, handheld camerawork, Balloon combines documentary realism with heightened formal artistry in its study of three generations of a Tibetan sheep herding family in the 1980s. Dargye and Drolkar’s two boisterous youngest sons have blown up their parents’ condoms like balloons. Not only does this outrage their entire village, but more practically: they have no more condoms. The couple already have three sons, and as China has recently introduced its one-child policy, they can’t have any more. Pema Tseden brilliantly exposes how the personal is political in his examination of the often profoundly traumatic consequences of China’s former birth control regulations. Modernity and tradition co-exist as the family attempts to reconcile the competing demands of state regulation, free will, religious expectation and filial obligation. Tseden deftly balances his challenging subject matter with moments of gentle humour and deep lyricism.

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