The Sacred Arrow

Pema Tseden | Tibet | 2014 | 16:9

Tibetan with English and Chinese subtitles | Czech subtitles, 96min.

Kino Aero              19. dubna 2016         18:30

A thousand-year-old Tibetan archery competition sets the stage for this tale of passion, jealousy, honor, tradition, and love as rival villages clash amid breathtaking scenery. For more than a thousand years, two villages in the Amdo region of Tibet have competed in an annual archery competition, mostly for bragging rights, but also to keep the peace, which has lasted for hundreds of years. In the present day, however, the fight for the contest’s “Sacred Arrow” prize, representing strength and bravery, becomes something more personal when a love triangle forms around the participants. After archer Dradong loses the contest for the second year in a row to the champion Nyima, he feels the pressure to win back honor in his village. Tensions escalate when Dradong finds his younger sister, Deskyid, romantically involved with his arch nemesis, Nyima. The two rivals clash again, leading to violence, until a second archery contest is devised to settle the score, once and for all. But will it be enough to keep the peace? This fourth feature film by Pema Tseden, often called “the first Tibetan filmmaker,” was filmed on location using an all-Tibetan crew and non-professional actors. Shot amid some of the most jaw-dropping scenery on the planet, The Sacred Arrow can be seen as a modern, yet still ancient, adaptation of “Romeo and Juliet,” and also as a moving portrait of a Tibetan culture that struggles to connect with the next generation.

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