"The Search" is the first Chinese production where the dialogue is spoken entirely in the Tibetan language. A film director and his cameraman travel by four-wheel drive across rural Tibet, auditioning actors to be in a screen version of the classic Tibetan-Buddhist opera "Drime Kunden. With them in the vehicle are a businessman and the driver. During their long languid journey, the businessman regales the other passengers with a tale that seems to run parallel with what is occurring on the screen. They visit remote monasteries and high-school gymnasiums, looking for an actor who can act as well as sing: many of the 'auditions' are filmed in real time, adding to the film's already snail-like pace. The director, Pema Tseden is clearly influenced by the work of such directors as Abbas Kiarostami and Theo Angelopoulos. However, Pema Tseden is not in the league of those directors. The never ending shots from inside the vehicle of the road ahead, and the businessman's constant prattle gradually gets on one's nerves, to the point where this viewer was debating whether or not to walk out of the cinema. The final dénouement was such that he wished he had.
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