Norbu’s internal struggle plays out against the silence of the vast, peaceful and stoic countryside on the cusp of Chinese occupation. The film’s enchanting beauty comes from its striking interplay between social realism, Eastern religion, superstition, morality, ethics and mythology.
Presented by the Melbourne Cinémathèque & ACMI
The Horse Thief (Dao ma zei)
Tian Zhuangzhuang’s breakthrough film is set in 1927, a year of revolution in China as millions of peasants rebel against their landlords. Through bold, almost folkloric imagery, stark landscapes and minimal dialogue, we see Norbu, the titular horse thief, struggling to support his family in Tibet.