• "Tharlo" explores the issue of identity in a changing world.

"Tharlo" explores the issue of identity in a changing world. (Photo : YouTube)

"Tharlo," a Tibetan film, has been nominated for four major awards at the Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival, winning over audiences with its focus on a relevant subject--people's sense of identity.

The film is competing for Best Director, Best Feature Film, Best Cinematography and Best Adapted Screenplay. The results will be announced on Saturday, Nov. 21.

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"Tharlo" tells the story of an eponymous orphaned shepherd who has to go to town to get his first ID photo.

Pema Tseden, the director of the film, was born in Qinghai Province in northeast China. He left his hometown at a young age because he wanted to study filmmaking in Beijing.

Tseden said in a statement to Xinhua that he wanted to show how things are for younger generations of Tibetans and inspire the audience to think about the effects of the changing world.

"It's not only Tibetans that face this issue; people in the rest of China and the world are experiencing the same thing," Tseden said.

For the film, the director drew on his own experiences. Tseden reflected on how he left his own hometown.

"From time to time, I am surprised how much I have changed since I left my hometown and how much people have changed there," Tseden said. "The force of change is so strong and irresistible. I am still searching for how to cope with it. I hope that everyone who watches the film may find their own way."

While Tseden's previous works were distinctly Tibetan, he felt the need to play such quality down for this film.

"I tried to focus on Tharlo himself and eliminate unnecessary distractions of cultural or social backgrounds," Tseden said.

The film cast only four professional actors, with the rest being locals, such as Tseden's friends.

Shide Nyima, who portrays Tharlo, is better known as a comedian and TV actor in Qinghai.

"This is a challenging role that I had never played before. Also, I understand what he's going through. I have some similar feelings myself," Nyima said.