On the road to Lhasa, the crying woman

These are funny scenes that we can sometimes surprise on the roads of Tibet. Pilgrims, men and women, every three paces, throw themselves on the ground, remain stretched out for a moment on the ground, get up, take three steps again, join their hands and throw themselves again on the ground. A rite of submission and humility towards the divinities to which they entrust their souls, in bad shape, this interminable journey to Lhassa, their ultimate goal, can last for months to wash away what encumbers them.

Drolma, who has not stopped crying since her visit to the hospital, without giving her husband the reason, lets go of everything, man, child and parents, to engage in this traveling ceremony. Leaving her relatives in a misunderstanding reinforced by her stubborn silence, her crying fits, this unexplained depression and her visits to the two families which resemble farewells, Drolma wants to rally Lhasa, at all costs, by prostrating herself.

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Her husband, who ends up understanding, and her son join her to accompany her. But Drolma carries with her another mystery, linked to her first widowhood, which pushes her stubbornly towards her goal, as if to fulfill a secret wish. Silhouettes diluted among the immensity of the mountains, in the middle of a sublime nature, all three sink, weighted with a distress which is accentuated along the way.

The director uses a poignant fade to white (allusion to the migration of souls in the Tibetan book of the dead) to seal the truth revealed too late and the handover to which his very young son is forced.

In the name of the mother

This spiritual and religious journey, it is up to this child to complete it to the end, to be the depositary, to carry, intact, the sacred flame. In the name of the mother …

This first feature film by Sonthar Gyal, trained at the Beijing Film Academy, offers to hear the dialects of Tibet, to discover the sumptuous expanse of unexpected landscapes (valleys of green meadows, deep rivers that meander through the middle of gigantic mountains), to observe the social changes (shining 4×4 and recent car park which contrast with the way of life which has remained traditional). The director, also chief operator, magnificently illuminates the plans of this initiatory and redemptive journey, remarkable in its sobriety, depth and modesty, which recalls that, as in all life, the goal of the journey remains the path.


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