HOBBIES

Chinese feature film "Ballad from Tibet"

Blindness or Visual Impairment

Wei Zhang

"Ballad from Tibet"

Based on real people and true events, "BALLAD from TIBET" is a story about a group of Tibetan blind children embarking on an odyssey, each for a different reason. Thupten, with one eye partially working and the other completely dysfunctional, wants to see the world before his life goes completely dark. Droma, a beautiful weaving girl, wants to prove to her granny that she is more than a weaver by getting into a TV show. Sonam, a blind masseur, is fed up with his boring job. Kalsang, the youngest of them, simply follows others because it sounds terribly fun. With the help of a nomad family, a fleet of bikers, and a TV producer, the band marches to the metropolitan of Shenzhen. Their goal is to sing for everyone through the TV network.

Two blind students and one blind teacher from Tibet took the leading roles in this film. Many blind teachers and students appearred in this film as well.

Film Director Zhang Wei's STATEMENT

Forty years ago, when I was a young boy, I thought that all blind people were fortune tellers. I often saw blind people filing out of their residence in the morning: one led the team by walking in the front and others followed by putting one hand on the shoulder of the person ahead of him and holding a white cane with the other hand. I thought they all worked as fortune tellers in a specific area in the city center. At dusk, they marched back home again.

Later on, I moved to a big city. I no longer saw blind fortune tellers but found that many blind people work as masseuses. In 2010, I happened to watch a singing performance on a TV talent show by a group of blind students and teachers from Tibet. I was touched and inspired by them. Afterwards, I learned that the prevalence of cataracts in Tibet is the highest in the country due to natural environmental factors; local people think that the blind are punished by heaven for conducting wrong deeds in a previous life. Thus, the blind are discriminated or even abandoned in Tibet. I do not see the blind in this way. Instead, I think they are unique people with extraordinary capabilities and wonderful stories. After several years of primary research and preparation, I finished making BALLAD FROM TIBET. I am hopeful that audiences will appreciate not only the beautiful scenes in Tibet but also the innocence, bravery and God-giving singing talent of the Tibetan blind.

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