Ballad from Tibet (Tian Lai Men Xiang). 2017. Tibet/China. Directed by Zhang Wei. In Tibetan, Chinese; English subtitles. 84 min.
The students at a school for blind youth in a small Tibetan city are fans of a reality television program called Desire to Sing, an American Idol clone that inspires the talented blind and low-vision children to sing and fulfill their creative ambitions. The teachers and administrators are encouraging, empowering the students to pursue their dreams. When one of the boys, posing as a teacher, calls a Desire to Sing producer, he manages to secure the group an audition in Shenzhen. But when they arrive at the bus to Shenzhen they discover their teacher—the one they impersonated—is about to board. Not to be deterred, the kids, Thupten, Droma, Kalsang, and their older companion Sonam, make the unlikely decision to go on foot. Their odyssey takes them across Tibet, where they encounter old traditions and modern challenges, some more arduous than others, as they confront perceptions of their disability. Not making it to Shenzhen isn’t an option in this delightful, uplifting road movie.
This screening is part of the 10th Annual ReelAbilities Film Festival: New York. MoMA is proud to present an accessible screening, including verbal description accommodations for visitors who are blind or low vision, captioning for visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing, accessible seating for wheelchair users, and American Sign Language interpretation and CART captioning for a Q&A to follow the screening.
Free tickets are distributed on a first-come, first-served basis starting at 1:00 p.m. on the day of the program at the film desk.