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'Old Dog' Director Pema Tseden Talks Tibet, Miraculous Surprises On Set & His Next Film

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • June 10, 2012 11:07 AM
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  • 5 Comments
Pema Tseden is a name you're going to be much more familiar with in the coming years. With his strong sense of visual composition and a dedication to presenting the real Tibet, it's only a matter of time before Cannes starts lapping his films up.

Brooklyn Film Festival Review: 'Old Dog' A Bold, Uncompromising Tibetan Tale

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • June 9, 2012 11:17 AM
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  • 2 Comments
And so the Tibetan new-wave cometh. Though merely a tiny ripple for now (consisting of about two filmmakers), the homelanders are showing a different side of their environment, one overlooked by features such as “Seven Years in Tibet” or the blockbusters currently burning the region’s box office. Pema Tseden’s “Old Dog” doesn’t include any of the flourishing beauty that the aforementioned Brad Pitt vehicle does, instead opting to showcase a dismal, despairing area where the cities look like post-apocalyptic wastelands and the countrysides don’t seem to contain a speck of life. While his outlook on things is unrelentingly critical, he’s not being negative for the sake of it -- there’s some true passion behind this work, and Tseden is a director with plenty to say on all topics, ranging from the younger generation's lack of connection to their heritage to the troubling relationship between Tibet and China. All is told in a subtle way, with a minimal plot and quiet, patient long takes -- which is also another way of saying that his modus operandi isn’t likely to please everyone, but for those that admire the work of filmmakers like Jia Zhangke, another remarkable talent has emerged.

Brooklyn Film Festival: Short Film Block Reveals Some Promising New Talent

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • June 9, 2012 10:38 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Despite the insistence of a Brooklynite to quack in between films, the short showcase put on by the Brooklyn Film Festival was an invigorating experience; a presentation of some truly talented individuals who will likely impress many when their features eventually unfurl.

Brooklyn Film Festival Review: '[s]comparse' Is An Interesting If Unadventurous Documentary

  • By Christopher Bell
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  • June 9, 2012 9:57 AM
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  • 0 Comments
There's a small Italian island in between Sicily and Africa that, for years, has served as a stepping stone for African immigrants looking for a brighter future. Recently, a large film production took to this haven in order to tell a fictional account of these people -- though, as it turns out, the migrants play second fiddle to a white character who leads the narrative. Camera in tow, Antonio Tibaldi documents the behind-the-scenes riff raffs, shooting both the African extras and the local townspeople as they display their respective frustrations with the grandiose movie attempting to tell their story. "[s]comparse" has plenty of intelligent, great ideas -- for example, the movie shoot is treated like an unwanted foreigner by the natives, opening up plenty of interesting layers -- but is brought down by its conventional, repetitive structure.

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