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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Film Review: Dalai Lama's past, opinions documented in '10 Questions'

June 8, 2008

By Kelsey Martyn-Farewell
The Norman Transcript
June 6, 2008

After last week's visit of a group of Tibetan monks to Norman, I was
compelled to rent "10 Questions for the Dalai Lama" when I saw it on
the shelf. It is a documentary written and directed by Rick Ray when
he travelled to India for another film project and surprisingly was
granted an audience with His Holiness during his stay after his
e-mail request to do so. The documentary combines part of Ray's
journey, both physical and spiritual, as well as archival film
footage and photos over the last 50 years, and current day interviews
to present, arguably, the most complete look at the life of the Dalai
Lama on film to date.

I must say that the archival footage was both intriguing and
impressive. The director's favorite, and perhaps mine as well, is a
clip of the Dalai Lama when he was a young man as he looked through
the lens of a camera to film the goings on around him. There are also
clips showing Mao Tse Tung meeting with the Dalai Lama before Tibet
was overrun by the Chinese that are fascinating.

Most of Ray's journey through India in the film is in preparation for
his upcoming interview. He goes to the one region that is most
untouched by the annihilation of Tibetan culture to visit a
monastery. He also wanted to learn more about the life of the Dalai
Lama and the situation with China so as not to embarrass himself in
front of one of his personal heroes.

Ray was very careful to select appropriate questions for his
interview. While he was allotted a certain amount of time for the
interview, he knew that the Dalai Lama was known to end meetings
early if he felt that his audience was insincere. The questions range
from what makes a nation happy, to how to deal with the situation
with China, and even how to reach peace in the Middle East. The
answers may surprise you.

As a result of this interview, the film is able to present an up
close and personal look at the life and philosophies of the Dalai
Lama. He is educated, humble, a great world leader, and a spontaneous
comedian. Perhaps what is most unique about this particular spiritual
leader is his pragmatism. He is a firm believer in examining
religious traditions and changing or discarding them if they no
longer fit with today's world or can be disproven by science.

Other interviewees include the Dalai Lama's assistant and a monk who
was beaten and arrested by the Chinese. They help to round out both
the climate with China and the beliefs of the Dalai Lama.

This film won the Best Documentary award at the Berkeley Video --
Film Festival as well as six other awards and a dozen Official
Selections at various festivals around the world. Bonus features on
the DVD include an interview with Ray as he discusses at greater
length the process of making this film, as well as extended interview
scenes with the Dalai Lama's assistant, Tenzin Geyche Tethong, and
additional scenes.

While the total running time for the documentary is just under 90
minutes, it is time well spent. For an educational and spiritual
documentary, check out "10 Questions for the Dalai Lama" in your
local store's new releases section.

Please send your questions, comments, and DVD recommendations to
Kelsey at pop@normantranscript.com.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
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