‘Festival Of Films On Tibet Next Week’
by Staff Reporter
(Bombay Times. August 13, 1999)
There was a time when Tibetan monks used to stage silent candle light
marches in the city to mark the day of Tibet's invasion by China,
and it went almost unnoticed. Now a pressure group called Friends of
Tibet (INDIA) has been formed to regularly disseminate information
about the Tibetan cause and the human rights violations by China.
To focus on their cause, the group which receives several hundred
hits a day on its website http://www.friendsoftibet.org, has
organised a film festival and a photo exhibition next week.
The film festival which opens at the Little Theatre on August 18 has
four films including Martin Scorsese's internationally acclaimed
Kundun, based on the life of the Dalai Lama.
Kundun, which literally means 'presence,' traces the story of Tenzin
Gyatso, the XIV Dalai Lama of Tibet, from his divine recognition as
a two-and-a-half-year-old child to the day when Tibet was invaded
by the Chinese Red Army in 1959, forcing him to live in exile in
Dharamsala. The film charts the extraordinary growth of Dalai Lama
from a giggling child into a world leader who raised the global
consciousness about the Buddhist society, and the plight of Tibet and
its people. The film has an evocative music score by Philip Glass.
Scorsese, who has films like
to his credit, was forced to film in Morocco after the Chinese
authorities refused him permission to enter Tibet.
The package includes two documentaries and a feature film. The
110-minute documentary Tibet In India was shot during the
inauguration of the new main monastery of the Drekung Kargu School
of Tibetan Buddhism near Derah Dun. The film includes some rare
lama dances and historical footage. The 120-minute
The Knowledge Of Healing
directed by Franz Reichle deals with Tibetan medicine.
Also included is Jean-Jacques Annaud's feature film
Seven Years In Tibet,
which traces the adventurous escape of a prisoner of war from a POW
camp in India, and his journey into Tibet and subsequent friendship
with the Dalai Lama. Based on a book by Heinrich Harrer, the film
features Hollywood hearthrob Brad Pitt in the lead role.
Simultaneously with the film festival, a photo exhibition titled
'Free Spirits: Tibet In Exile' by British photojournalist Diane
Barker will open at the Piramal Gallery. The exhibition is the
culmination of Barker's several visits to Tibetan refugee centres
in India and Nepal since 1994. The exhibition records the Tibetan
community in exile, and the struggle for survival of a culture
recreated in India and Nepal.
This will be the first public programme organised by Friends of
Tibet. The group plans to organise a bigger festival in the year
2000 which will include seminars and Tibetan music programmes.