Film - Feature | May 12 | 5 p.m. | Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive
Pema Tsedens absolutely mesmerizing third feature, Old Dog, unfurls on plains some three thousand feet above sea level in the Tibetan region of the Chinese province of Qinghai. It tells the story of an aged sheepherder, his gruff grown son (whos having trouble conceiving a child with his wife), and the old mans Tibetan mastiff hounda highly prized breed, much sought after by urban Chinesewhose existence is imperiled from all sides. An emotionally gripping family story that combines slow cinema pacing with limitless vistas (breathtakingly photographed by cinematographer and fellow Tibetan director Sonthar Gyal), Old Dog makes use of those horizon-lines-that-delimit-human-destinies in ways that might have wowed John Ford, even as its portrait of rural anomie amid astonishing scenery takes a completely modern approach to narrative, patiently accumulating detail by telling detail. Its single most dramatic moment might just be a five-minute take depicting a sheeps attempts to rejoin its flock after somehow slipping through a fence.