Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Tibet - Cry of the Snow Lion|
Actors: Edward Edwards, Ed Harris, Shirley Knight, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon
Director: Tom Piozet
Ten years in the making, this award-winning documentary was filmed during a remarkable nine journeys throughout Tibet, India and Nepal. CRY OF THE SNOW LION brings audiences to the long-forbidden "rooftop of the world" w... more »
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Liberation through Knowledge: Absorbing
Robert D. Steele | Oakton, VA United States | 01/16/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Edit of 20 Dec 07 to add other significant DVDs.
Halfway through this probing, sensitive, sharp, spiritual documentary film I thought to myself, "wow, this is what CIA covert propaganda *should* be able to produce" and then instantly corrected myself: David Ignatius of the Washington Post has it right: overt action is vastly superior to covert action, and in this instance, a loose coalition of kindred spirits have come together in time and focus to produce something remarkable, something much more threatening to Chinese behavior in Tibet than any military armada: a collage of truth-telling.
This is a world-class documentary, full of vivid images, well-blended historical and modern footage, and extremely good production planning and voice over editing. Early on I was struck by the similarity between the Tibetans, the Native Americans, and the Guatemalan Indians, all of whom share some basic moral precepts.
The portrait painted of Tibet as a nation committed to the concept of spiritual education, is a compelling one. One analogy offered up by one of those interviewed I found especially compelling: Tibet was spending 85% of its budget on spiritual development, with 10% of its population in monasteries--this being the equivalent of America redirecting its entire defense budget toward education.
The documentary will clearly infuriate the Chinese, for it carefully itemizes the many ways in which Tibet is uniquely Tibetan, including in its language, greatly distant from Chinese. Shown are Chinese torture instruments, including electrical cattle prods used in the vaginas of nuns and the mouths and throats of monks. The photographs are graphic.
Also covered are the genocide, the torture, imposed by the Chinese, as well as the loss of morality--625 brothels to serve the Chinese garrison.
The documentary carefully covered the death of 30 million Chinese and half the Tibetan population that resulted from Mao Tse Tung's order that Tibet grow wheat instead of barley--shades of the Soviet Union and its failed socialist agriculture.
6,200 monasteries destroyed--as one Tibetan government official in exile notes, this is not just places of worship, but places of scholarship and cradles of a specific civilization.
A section of the documentary focuses on CIA training of the Tibetan resistance, the conclusion of the Tibetans themselves that CIA was not serious, only providing enough support to enable harassment but not victory, and then the coup de grace--Henry Kissinger selling Tibet out for the sake of engagement.
A very powerful section points out that the US, with its 89 billion dollar a year trade imbalance with China, is in fact subsidizing Chinese repression and genocide, not only against Tibet, but against Muslims in China and other separatists elements. US business, according to this documentary, has sold democracy out in favor of profit.
As the documentary drew to an end, I found myself asking again: is this CIA propaganda, as the Chinese would have us believe? Or is the Dalai Lama is fact the representative of a group that may well be the soul of the world, a kernel of hope for non-violent resolution to all that ails us? I found myself wishing that we did indeed have a more effective People's Intelligence Agency (PIA), one that I could trust, one that we could all trust, to actually get the facts right, without political, economic, or cultural manipulation and distortion.
I was educated by this documentary. I had never really thought about Tibet as other than a spiritual oddity. This documentary very effectively points out that it can and should be a zone of peace, not least because it is situated between China and India, two of the most populous nations on earth, between them holding one half of the earth's population, and both of them nuclear *and* poor.
The documentary ends on a high note. It explicitly calls for liberation through knowledge and compassion, and one educator is very effective in pointing out that no one expected apartheid to end in South Africa, or the Berlin Wall to fall, yet both came to pass. Tibet, by this telling, is next.
This is an eye-opening, intelligent, visually-stimulating, and spiritually unnerving documentary. These people--both the observers and the observed--have served us all well.
See also, with reviews:
Peace One Day
The Snow Walker
Lord of War (2-Disc Special Edition)
Syriana (Full Screen Edition)"
Five Stars for Information and Stunning Filming
B. Merritt | WWW.FILMREVIEWSTEW.COM, Pacific Grove, California | 01/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I knew some of Tibet's history and social ills before picking up this DVD at my local video store. So many actors and artists have made the Tibetans' persecutions known to us that it'd be almost impossible to think most Americans don't have a general understanding of their oppression.
But what most of us probably weren't aware of, is how involved the U.S. was (is) in the demise of the Tibetan way of life. Oh sure! Blame it on the West again! But seriously, think about the following:
In the 1970's, Nixon sent Kissinger on a secret mission to help form guerrilla fighters in Tibet, so that they could fight off the Chinese troops. Then, when Nixon later wanted to open up China for trade, the first thing the U.S. did was break off all connections with those same guerillas, hanging them out to dry.
Move to current day, and we have the U.S. and China in major trade relations. More than $85 billion comes into the U.S. from China. How can Tibet compete against the Almighty Dollar? The fact is, they can't.
Even though the Dalai Lama won the Nobel Peace Prize for his decision to fight the Chinese government using non-violent acts, even though Tibet is now dedicated to peace and its "true" inhabitants don't lift a finger when troops storm into their monestaries, even though their way of life and their heritage is being picked apart bit by bit, America (and the UN, too) turns a blind eye. $85 million; how do you compete with that?
The final message of the film is uplifting. The narrators mention that Apartheid ended in South Africa and the Berlin Wall fell (even though everyone thought neither of these two things possible). Can Tibet, likewise, be salvaged?
Pray to Buddha that they can.
Okay, enough of the political commentary. Now let's get into the filming of this documentary. It's friggin' AMAZING! The beautiful landscapes, colorful Tibetan dress, haunting musical score, and excellent editing make this a tour-de-force film. The special features on the DVD were also remarkable.
If you pick up ONE documentary this year, I'd highly recommend this one. And not solely because of its message, but because it's beautiful, too."
An epic film of human exploitation.
Robert D. Askren | Jacksonville, Florida | 01/15/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Cry of The Snow Lion" is a beautiful documentary of the plight of the people of Tibet before and after the Communist China invasion. It reveals that once again our government's foreign policy is driven by materialism and greed instead of democratic principle and loyalty. Highlights of the film are news clips and interviews with primary sources. This is a well produced "docudrama".
Robert D. Askren,Ph.D."
Out of Shangri-La
Magalini Sabina | Rome Italy | 07/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The great interest of general public in Tibet, expecially from the American point of view, can be dated to the end of the 1980's, when after Nixon's opening to Chinese commerce, Tibet was abandoned to it's tragic destiny by the world's most influential countries. American intellectuals and artists at that moment realized that only publicity and campaigns to stimulate public opinion could help this non belligerant nation to regain its country. In the 1990's, from 1994 to 1997, three Hollywood megaproductions were issued (Little Buddha, Kundun and Seven Years in Tibet). These three movies had great success, sometimes more in the rest of the world than in the USA, but each of them in its own way gave a distorted picture of Tibetan reality from the 1950's up to now.
Somehow James Hilton's vision of Tibet described in the Last Horizon was still working in the subconscious mind of directors such as Bertolucci, Scorsese and Annaud. In the recent years many criticisms have been expressed on this kind of outlook on Tibet and finally also Hollywood has decided to diffuse a well made, educational, modern documentary on Tibet.
The Cry of the Snow Lion is a very rich visual document because interviews with tortured monks and nuns, exiled tibetans, and world specialists on tibetan issues (see John Avedon for example) are interspaced with inserts on Tibetan history and culture.
All the "pieces" are contextualized by a narrating voice that explains and links together the whole documentary.
Facts and figures are meticulously reported: the number of dead, the causes direct and indirect of the happenings, the quantity of the monastaries destroyed and how many Han chinese have immigrated to the country. Rare material is also reported and photographs of the 1950's in their seppia colours and are commented on. I found the interviews particularly interesting, expecially those with protagonists of the period of Chinese invasion, such as Frost and those with modern political commentators.
Naturally, as in most documents of this type, the underlying propaganda is evident, but not fastidious. The sensation one gets at the end is of a 360° outlook on this country and the point where the Tibetan issue is now standing.
I reccomend the vision of the Cry of the Snow Lion to all people over the world, interested in modern history.
Truely a great effort that should be run on TV and more pubblicized."