Screening of Balloon by Filmmaker Pema Tseden as Part of 2024 Brown Bag Series

Balloon Poster

Members of the Rice Community and fans of the Tibetan Filmmaker Pema Tseden gathered for a reception and screening of Balloon, at Rice Cinema, on Friday, March 1, as part of the Department of Anthropology’s Spring 2024 Brown Bag Series. The event co-presented by the Department of Anthropology, Rice Cinema, and Chao Center for Asian Studies, was followed by a discussion lead by Assistant Professor Huatse Gyal and Professor Cymene Howe.

“Great films allow us to see into other worlds with a unique clarity and Tseden’s brilliant work is a pleasure to engage with visually, emotionally and intellectually. Professor Gyal and I were so happy to bring this film to Rice, with the help of Rice Cinema and the Chao Center for Asian Studies" said Professor of Anthropology Cymene Howe. 

The award winning film Balloon narrates a Tibetan family’s challenges in the face of religious conservatism, sexual freedoms and China’s one-child policy. Weaving between material forms, more-than-human contexts and familial tensions, the film raises pointed questions around human well being in times of environmental precarity. Like Pema Tseden’s other films, Balloon is acted in Tibetan and is rooted in ethnographic observation of Tibetan realities. 

“After I was offered a position at Rice University, I was thinking about what I could bring to the existing ecology of the Rice community in general, and the anthropology department in particular from the Tibetan world. The pioneer Tibetan director Pema Tseden's films immediately came to my mind. Pema's films have won the hearts of millions of people around the world. I'm very happy and grateful that I had the opportunity to show Pema's film, Balloon in Rice Cinema in collaboration with my colleague Professor Cymene Howe in Pema's memory," said Assistant Professor Huatse Gyal.