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

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  • Summary: In The Sun Behind the Clouds, Tibetan filmmaker, Tenzing Sonam, and his partner, Ritu Sarin, take a uniquely Tibetan perspective on the trials and tribulations of the Dalai Lama and his people as they continue their struggle for freedom in the face of determined suppression by one of the world’s biggest and most powerful nations. The filmmakers had intimate access to the Dalai Lama and followed him over the course of an eventful year, which included the 2008 protests in Tibet, the international response to it, the Beijing Olympics, and the breakdown in talks between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government. (White Crane Films)

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 10
  2. Negative: 0 out of 10
  1. The film is essential viewing for anyone who cares about the fate of the mountain region and the legacy of the Dalai Lama.
  2. 75
    The documentary does a superlative job of examining the half-century dispute over Chinese rule of mountainous Tibet.
  3. 70
    Sarin and Sonam also lift the veil on potentially explosive divisions within the Tibetan exile community, which is torn between spiritual and cultural loyalty to the Dalai Lama and a widespread longing for true independence. (The filmmakers clearly belong to the pro-independence camp.)
  4. Reviewed by: Matthew Nestel
    The filmmakers do bang-up job expanding the frontline perspectives, aiming to subvert a ruling regime’s course and expose its cloudy human rights record.
  5. The doc dutifully allows for these varying viewpoints, but in a mode that’s not especially captivating, despite a guitar score by Brokeback Mountain’s Gustavo Santaolalla.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark Feeney
    While never heavy-handed about its politics, the film makes no effort to disguise its strong anti-Chinese bias.
  7. The filmmakers, chronicling the Dalai Lama’s somewhat muddled attempts to respond to the protesters’ calls while not antagonizing China, do a fair amount of muddling themselves. They lurch awkwardly between reverence for the Dalai Lama and hints that he has become, politically, irrelevant or an obstacle.

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