This documentary film, directed by Dirk Simon, focuses on the Tibetan movement to free Tibet.

Seven years in the making, it is an ambitious piece of work, and one that doesn’t quite deliver. The most interesting sections are those involving interviews with the Dalai Lama. His calm, pragmatic and charismatic approach to a non-violent way of living is truly impressive. This approach, which is mirrored in his followers, has, however, failed to provide a solution to the Tibetan problem, and Tibetans, both those who remain in their native land and those in exile, appear torn between their loyalty to the Dalai Lama and their frustration at the lack of any resolution of the political situation.

There are numerous comments from Tibetan activists, as well as Chinese people who seem to be equally entrenched (and totally lacking in any insight or empathy).

I was particularly struck by the non-involvement of the US (and everywhere else) when China invaded Tibet in the late 1940s. The film claims that at the time the US was trying to woo China away from Russia, and therefore did not want to jeopardise the relationship by involving itself in the Tibetan situation.

There is much passion, and distress, to be witnessed in this film. Overall, however, despite its earnestness and its well meaning premise, it felt like an overlong meandering through Tibet’s history post invasion. In terms of the movement to free Tibet, I was left with the¬†depressing sense of a ‘political’ activism that does not seem to be going anywhere.

CQ

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