Tibet in March 2008. The biggest uprising since China took control in 1959 sweeps through the country. Meanwhile, Tibetans in exile march on their homeland, determined to support their countrymen. This is a year of dramatic possibilities for Tibet. For more than 20 years, the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual and political leader, has pursued his Middle Way Approach: giving up the goal of Tibet’s independence in return for genuine autonomy. But China has consistently rejected his proposal. Now, more and more Tibetans are questioning his strategy.
The Tibetan people are well known for being devoutly religious and peace loving. What is less known is that thousands of Tibetans took up arms against the invading forces of Communist China and waged a bitter and bloody guerrilla war. From the mid-1950s until 1969 they were aided in their efforts by an unlikely ally, the CIA. This project, code-named ST CIRCUS, was one of the CIA’s longest running covert operations.
A single-channel video installation, which explores the rarefied world of Tibetan Buddhist debate. Built around three sets of debates dealing with the basic Buddhist concepts of impermanence, lack of self-existence, and dependent-arising, the piece allows the viewer an opportunity to participate in this unique dialectical practice while highlighting its relevance to the modern world.
2010 Busan Biennale Living in Evolution
12 September to 20 November 2010
In 1991, filmmakers Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam made The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche, which followed the search and discovery of a 4-year-old reincarnated lama, Phara Khenchen Rinpoche. Sixteen years later, the directors revisit the reincarnation at Drepung Monastery in South India. The film offers an intimate look at the life of a young lama as he aspires to live up to the reputation of his former incarnation. It also explores his moving relationship with the two people closest to him, his attendant and his spiritual master, both of whom were connected to him in his previous life.
Choenzey is a 47-year-old monk living in a Tibetan refugee monastery in South India. His spiritual master, Khensur Rinpoche, a revered high lama, has been dead for four years. According to Tibetan belief, he will soon be reincarnated. It is Choenzey’s responsibility, as his closest disciple, to find the reincarnation and to look after him. The film follows Choenzey’s search and his eventual discovery of an impish but gentle 4-year-old boy who is recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan State Oracle to be the reincarnation.
Why hasn’t Tibet been freed? Who is keeping the movement from going forward? From director Dirk Simon, When The Dragon Swallowed The Sun is a groundbreaking documentary that examines these questions in a quest to understand why the world is still dealing with unsettled issues like the Tibetan cause and what can really be done to eradicate them. Seven years in the making, When The Dragon Swallowed The Sun is the first inside look at the Tibetan movement to free Tibet from Chinese occupation, its internal conflicts and contradictions.
After 50 years of Chinese occupation, Tibet has lost most of its unique history, culture, language, and spiritual way of life. More than a million Tibetans have died under the Chinese occupation as a result of torture, starvation, and execution. Today, Tibetan people are denied most rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including the rights to self-determination, freedom of speech, assembly, movement, expression and travel.
On the Eastern Tibetan plateau of Kham, at an altitude of 14,000 feet, subsistence farmers and nomadic herding families sprinkle the craggy mountains of Nangchen. Their way of life has changed little in over 2,000 years, and for most it is a life of illiteracy, poverty and hunger.
Karma, a Tibetan filmmaker from New York, goes to Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama’s exile headquarters in northern India, to make a documentary about former political prisoners who have escaped from Tibet. She wants to reconnect with her roots but is also escaping a deteriorating relationship back home.