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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Political > Tibetan Refugee (Documentary)

Tibetan Refugee


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: B-     Main Program: B-



We hear so much about the Dalai Lama, as well as religious oppression by the Chinese in Tibet because the last major Communist superpower holdout is so threatened by the world religion of Buddhism.  Tibetan Refugee (2004) runs only an hour, but is a rich record of these beautiful, sincere people who have been driven to a section of India to continue their way of life, traditions and faith.  The extent of how serious this is has never been seen like this until now.


Over 4,000 people a year risk their lives to be able to continue living their life the way they want to, but there fortunately is this sparse sanctuary on the other side of all those mountains.  The documentary works as a record of crimes against a people, as well as a plea for much-needed help from wherever it can be found.  It is a fair and non-exploitive appeal.  Though the Dalai Lama is not present much, that is not the point here.  These people are keeping alive a culture and religion a government has seen fit to kill off, though they would never admit it.


Watching, it just continues to amaze me that the world allows for such things to this day, and to say that there is not some specter of genocide against these people is not stretching the truth in any way.  Anyone who is forced to go through these circumstances to do what they want to do and be who they are is not having it easy and those who arrogantly shrug off their plight as “well that’s what they want to do, so that’s what they have to go through” is part of the complacency and problem.  They would not say that if it was something they wanted to do under the same circumstances, but some people are just very ungrateful for the lives they have and these people are not.  That is undeniable to anyone who is capable of caring about anything.


The full frame videotape image looks to have been shot in the NTSC format, and is clean for so much location work.  This includes some obvious video editing, sketches that bookend the final work, and burnt-in subtitles where applicable.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 is spreading around what was simple stereo at best, but is also clean and clear for a recent recording.  This helps best when the Nechung Monks perform their sacred traditional music.  A two-part segment of a head Oracle discussing the religion and refugees, followed by the full-length version of a prayer session featuring the monks doing their music is included.  All this makes Tibetan Refugee an experience like no other that is worth your time.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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