At a time when Tibetans in Tibet continue to torch their bodies, demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama from exile, an award-winning documentary on the Tibetan struggle for freedom will be shown for the first time on Indian national television tomorrow.
The Sun Behind the Clouds, winner of multiple awards, including the Vaclav Havel Award, Prague, 2010, Silver Conch, Mumbai International Film Festival, 2010, and Best of Fest, Palm Springs International Film Festival, 2010 will be aired on NDTV 24×7 October 22 at 3 pm and October 23 at 1 pm.
Set against the backdrop of the popular uprisings of 2008 that spread across the Tibetan plateau, Sun Behind the Clouds follows the Dalai Lama’s trials and tribulations and over an eventful year, including the long ‘Return to Tibet’ march in India, the Beijing Olympics, and the breakdown of talks with China.
The makers of the film, Tenzing Sonam and his partner, Ritu Sarin film, explore the interplay between the personal and the historic, spirituality and politics, and the tension between the Dalai Lama’s efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the Tibet situation based on compromise and dialogue, and the impatience of a younger generation of Tibetans who are ready to take a more confrontational course.
Reviewing the film for The New York Times, Neil Genzlinger wrote, “the documentary is as much a challenge to the Dalai Lama as it is to the Chinese”.
The Sun Behind the Clouds created media uproar in early 2010 when organisers of the 21st Palm Springs International Film Festival refused to buckle under Chinese pressure and screened the film to a huge reception. China immediately withdrew two of its films from the festival.
Speaking about his film, Tenzing Sonam told an Indian daily that pressure from the Chinese government to ban his film from international screenings have been at times “more discreet”.
“Once, the director of a well-known festival in the US told us he was asked to sign a letter stating that he would not show our film if he would be allowed to screen a Chinese film,” Sonam was quoted as saying.