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Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden writes and directs this intimate portrait of an orphaned shepherd, adapted from his own novella. Tharlo (Shide Nyima) needs to obtain an official ID card so he visits the police station in the town of Qinghai. The Police Chief is impressed by the shepherd's ability to recite excerpts from Chairman Mao's essays but less enamoured with his hair, which needs to be washed for the ID card photograph. So Tharlo enlists the services of local hairdresser Yangtso (Yang Shik Tso) to prepare him for his close-up. Tharlo is instantly smitten with her and joins Yangtso at her favourite karaoke joint, where the differences between them become painfully apparent.