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. There have been many films about the distressing events happening in Tibet but perhaps none as powerful as What Remains of Us, a Canadian documentary shot entirely in Tibet that allows us to witness the heartbreak from the Tibetan people themselves.
Filmmakers François Prévost and Hugo Latulippe joined with Kalsang Dolma, a Tibetan exile living in Quebec to bring a message from the exiled Dalai Lama to ordinary Tibetans. Dolma smuggled into Tibet videotape containing a message from the Tibetan spiritual leader urging his people to be true to the Buddhist ideals of compassion for your enemies and to continue their peaceful resistance. Dolma takes the tape to peasant farmers, sex trade workers, families and friends crowded around the tiny screen, as many see an image of the Dalai Lama for the first time.
Some cry, others pray, many shake and all at first are speechless, unable to speak. When they do, some offer expressions of joy, some hope, others cynicism and despair but all express gratitude to the Dalai Lama. What Remains of Us is not just another special plea for an oppressed minority. It is a powerful experience that could be just as true for Native Americans, indigenous Canadians, and for all languages and cultures threatened by the onslaught of globalization. What Remains of Us allows us to understand not only how much Tibetans have lost but how much of our own humanity is in danger if indigenous cultures disappear. We may have to ask the question „what remains of us?“ to ourselves.
Official Selection, Cannes International Film Festival, 2004
Audience Award, Atlantic International Film Festival, Halifax 2004
Canadian Award, Best Feature Film, Atlantic International Film Festival, Halifax 2004
Best International Documentary, Hollywood Film Festival, Beverly Hills, 2004
Most Popular Canadian Film, Vancouver International Film Festival, 2004
Canada’s Top Ten, Toronto International Film Festival Group, 2004
Nomination for Best Documentary, Genie Awards, 2005
Best Feature Film, Telluride Mountainfilm Festival, 2005
Best Documentary Film, Prix Jutra, Montreal, 2005
Audience Award, Festival du Film des Droits de la Personne, Montreal 2006
First Prize, Grand Prix Sergio Vieira de Mello, Human Rights Film Festival, Geneva 2007
Special Mention, Norvegian Peace Film Award, Norway International Film Festival, Tromso, 2008