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Movie Review: 'The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for Freedom'

July 13, 2010

Kevin Thomas
The Los Angeles Times
June 24, 2010

Two years ago, the Beijing Olympics sparked the
biggest uprising of the Tibetan people inside and
outside their country since China invaded it in
the '50s and imposed a harsh, repressive rule
against the native population. This protest
prompted documentarians Ritu Sarin and Tenzing
Sonam to make a fresh examination of the plight
of the Tibetans still craving independence after
a half century of either homeland misery or increasingly long exile.

Their beautiful, stirring and inescapably elegiac
"The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for
Freedom" illuminates the increasing complexity
and contradictions in regard to the role of the
Dalai Lama, exiled in India since 1959. By the
1980s the Dalai Lama concluded that the dream of
an independent Tibet was unrealistic in the face
of Chinese might. Instead, he proposed his Middle
Way, petitioning China not for independence but
at least for autonomy and the right to preserve
Tibetan culture and religion, but was rebuffed.

In the post-Olympic world, the Dalai Lama and the
impassioned leaders of the young protesters cling
to the hope that China might unravel as quickly
as did the Soviet Union. In the meantime,
Tibetans have become a disenfranchised minority
in Lhasa, not sharing in the vast economic
development of their country by the Chinese.
Sarin and Sonam make it clear that they and the
many Tibetans they interview believe that is all
the more reason to hold on even more strongly to
the dream of independence and freedom.

"The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for
Freedom." MPAA rating: Unrated. Running time: 1
hour, 29 minutes. Playing at the Monica 4-Plex, Santa Monica.
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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