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13:33 Mar 04 2010

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Tibetan filmmaker depicts Tibet in details
13:32, March 04, 2010  

Tibetan movie director Wanma Caidan spent China's traditional Lantern Festival, the 15th day of the first month of the Chinese Lunar New Year, with his audience in a cinema in Beijing, watching his prize-winner movie "Soul Searching."

It is the first movie screened in the project titled "movie display of young movie directors" held at the Broadway Movie Center of the Beijing Artistic Cinema.

The moviemaker's second feature movie was granted the Jury Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Film Festival last year. Like his first movie "the Silent Mani Stone," "Soul Searching" also features the Tibetan ethnic group, with all dialogues held in the Tibetan language.

To Wanma Caidan, to depict Tibetans' real life is the starting point of his movies.

Before becoming a movie director, Wanma Caidan had been a well-known writer, with his writing style known as magic realism, a sharp contrast to movies.

"In Tibet, such a style is very popular as the Tibetan epics are a combination of reality and fiction," he said. Average Tibetans also speak in such a style, he added. "Though it may sound fictional to others, the speaker will think it is real."

Wanma Caidan became a movie director by chance. He had not studied film till he got his master degree. Once he learned about a movie project funded by a foundation and he applied for it. He then got enrolled by the Beijing Film Academy. Upon graduation, he started his career as a filmmaker by making short movies and then feature ones.

In "Soul Searching," a film director is accompanied by his friend and a business owner, who serves as a guide, in search of an actor and an actress to play the roles of Prince Drimé Kunden and Princess Mande Zangmo. The initial simple search for an acting cast eventually becomes a complex inner and outer search for existential and spiritual meaning.

The typical features of Wanma Caidan's movies are the use of long shots, amateur actors and simple and documentary style.

Wanma Caidan said he shot a movie with "very delicate styles" and he writes the screenplay himself. He usually spends a lot of time making up all the scenes and the lines. Amateur actors add more unpretending feelings to his movies, but they also caused problems in the course of making a film.

"Some scenes have to be shot for more than 100 times and some actors are replaced by several others," he said.

The frequent use of fixed long shots may make audience feel boring with his movies, however, Wanman Caidan has his own opinion. "This is the best way to tell a story and I don't want to force any impressions on my audience but would rather let them see the natural flow of the characters," he said.

Such shots are his choice based on his Tibetan estheticism. "This is a pure Tibetan movie and when I referred to the Tibetan estheticism, I thought of thangka. A thangka, with only one drawing, can tell the whole story and show the relations between human beings and human being and the environment."

Source: Xinhuanet

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