A 10-year-old Buddhist novice nicknamed “Little Lama” returns home from the remote Guwa monastery for the New Year celebration.

After a long journey on horseback over icy steppes, he finds himself glued to his family’s new TV, watching the popular Chinese television series Journey to the West. Meanwhilethe villagers are rehearsing their annual staging of a traditional Tibetan opera for the New Year. The juxtaposition shows a young monk who finds himself magnetically drawn to the secular world, which calls to him through the TV. 
The Silent Holy Stones has the immediacy of a documentary, delivering a compelling and intimate insider’s look of everyday life in Tseden’s hometown, where traditional life rubs up against modernity and globalization. 
“A beautifully observed, very well-made and touching first feature … that deals with the subject of cultural change with remarkable subtlety” — Jury, the International Film Critics Federation Prize, 2006

This programme is supported by Film Hub NI. Part of the Belfast Film Festival young programmers project in association with QFT.

This season was selected and curated by Peize Li. A former graduate of Queens University, Belfast.  Peize Li’s Theme was diversity of Chinese Cinema and Minority Groups in China. She writes:  ‘There are the 56 ethnic groups in China. The diverse stories of different ethnic groups on screen contributes to the diversity of Chinese cinema. This is a collection that involves classic films and films that tells stories of minority ethnic groups of China. Both the collections of classic Chinese films and films of Chinese minority ethnic group involves films that are made by most prominent Fourth, Fifth and Sixth Generation of Chinese Filmmakers and latest new filmmakers of China.  From the film The Horse Thief made in the year of 1986 to the River Road made in 2014, Chinese film industry and film cultures witnessed massive changes. While the Chinese film industries growing rapidly during these years, the major roles that used to be played by the state-owned studios are now played by different types of producers. In recent years, the films that tell stories about minority ethnic groups are frequently paid attentions by the world-wide audiences.’