Tibetan art is deeply religious sacred art.

Documentary films about Tibet you must watch

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Tibet developed a distinct due to its geographic and climatic conditions.

While influenced by neighboring cultures from China, India, and Nepal, the Himalayan region’s remoteness and inaccessibility have preserved distinct local influences, and stimulated the development of its distinct culture.

Tibetan Buddhism has exerted a particularly strong influence on Tibetan culture since its introduction in the seventh century.

Buddhist missionaries who came mainly from India, Nepal and China introduced arts and customs from India and China.

Art, literature, and music all contain elements of the prevailing Buddhist beliefs, and Buddhism itself has adopted a unique form in Tibet, influenced by the Bön tradition and other local beliefs.

Documentary films about Tibet

This is a list of documentary films about Tibet you must watch to learn more about its culture.

My Reincarnation

is a 2011 documentary film directed by Jennifer Fox. It is a drama between father and son, spanning two decades and three generations. The film addresses spirituality, cultural survival, identity, heritage, family, growing into maturity, aging, Buddhism, and past and future lives.

10 Questions for the Dalai Lama

is a 2006 documentary film in which filmmaker Rick Ray meets with Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama at his monastery in Dharamsala, India. The film maker asks him ten questions during the course of the interview which is inter-cut with a biography of Tenzin Gyatso, a history of modern Tibet and a chronicle of Ray’s journey securing the interview.

A Song for Tibet

is a 1991 Canadian short documentary film about efforts of Tibetans in exile, led by the Dalai Lama, to free their homeland and preserve their heritage. Directed by Anne Henderson, A Song for Tibet received the Award for Best Short Documentary at the 13th Genie Awards as well as the People’s Choice Award for Best Documentary Film at the Hawaii International Film Festival. The film was co-produced by Arcady Films, DLI Productions and the National Film Board of Canada. Ali Kazimi was director of photography.

Blindsight (film)

Blindsight is a 2006 documentary film directed by Lucy Walker and produced by Sybil Robson Orr for Robson Entertainment. It premiered at 2006 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in the category Real to Reel.

Bringing Tibet Home

is a 2013 documentary film produced and directed by Tibetan filmmaker Tenzin Tsetan Choklay about Tibetan contemporary Artist Tenzing Rigdol’s art piece “Our Land Our people”. The film premiered at the 2013 Busan International Film Festival in South Korea. This is a Tibetan-language film.

Digital Dharma

: One Man’s Mission to Save a Culture is a 2012 American documentary film directed by Dafna Yachin. The film depicts the 50-year journey by E. Gene Smith to hunt down and digitize over 20,000 missing volumes of ancient Tibetan text.

Fire Under the Snow

is a 2008 documentary film on the life of Tibetan monk, Palden Gyatso, recounting 33-years of his life spent as a political prisoner in Chinese prisons and labor camps. The documentary is directed by Japanese filmmaker, Makoto Sasa and based on the book by Palden Gyatso in Tibetan language.

High Plains Doctor: Healing on the Tibetan Plateau is a 2012 documentary film by Michael Dayan, who produced, directed, and shot the film. Premiering on the documentary channel in Canada, it focuses on documenting the life journey of Isaac Sobol, who recounts his professional experiences and personal insights as Chief Medical Officer of Nunavut and professor of Aboriginal People’s Health.

Journey from Zanskar

is a 2010 documentary film written, produced, and directed by Frederick Marx, for Warrior Films. It tells the emotional story of 17 small children who leave home and family, possibly forever, in order to save their dying Tibetan culture. Parting from one of the most remote and desolate places on Earth – Zanskar, in northwest India – the expedition must travel on foot over 17,000 foot Himalayan passes. The two monks serving as guides walked this same path 30 years ago when they were children. The 17 children with them may not return home for 10–15 years or more. Narrated by Richard Gere, featuring the Dalai Lama, the film tells the story of their incredible journey.

Leaving Fear Behind

, also known as Leaving Fear behind: I Won’t Regret to Die, is a documentary movie from Dhondup Wangchen and Jigme Gyatso about communist Chinese repression of Tibet. It was premiered in 2008 in the year when the 2008 Summer Olympics took place in Beijing, China.

The Forbidden Team

(film) is a 2003 Danish documentary film directed by Rasmus Dinesen and Arnold Krøjgaard. The leading cast consists of association football trainers Jens Espensen and Michael Nybrandt, the Tibet national football team and at the conclusion the Greenland national football team. Star-part is being played by the 14th Dalai Lama.

The Saltmen of Tibet

is a 1997 film that chronicles the trek undertaken by a clan of Tibetan salt harvesters across scenic but dangerous territory from their settlement to the sacred lakes where salt is harvested. The salt is then traded for foodstuffs to maintain the clan for the following year. Woven into the movie are excerpts of a Tibetan singer from the tribe telling the tale of King Gesar of Ling, a traditional Tibetan epic.

The Sun Behind the Clouds

looks at China’s occupation of Tibet from the perspective of the vocally secessionist Tibetan youth, and from that of their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, whose reaction to the Chinese presence has been markedly less confrontational. Directed by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, the film features interviews with the Dalai Lama and Tenzin Tsundue. The Sun Behind the Clouds premiered in the United States at the 2010 Palm Springs International Film Festival before playing at Film Forum in New York City.

Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion is a 2002 documentary film about the Chinese occupation of Tibet directed by Tom Peosay. It is narrated by Martin Sheen and Tibetan voiceovers are provided by Edward Edwards, Ed Harris, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and Shirley Knight. This film won the “Audience Award for Best Documentary” at the 2003 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It was also the 2003 “Official Selection” at Toronto International Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Festival.

Unmistaken Child

is a 2008 independent documentary film, which follows a Tibetan Buddhist monk’s search for the reincarnation of his beloved teacher, a world-renowned lama. It was directed by Nati Baratz.

What Remains of Us

is a 2004 Canadian documentary film exploring the survival of the nonviolent resistance movement in Tibet. The documentary was shot over eight years without the knowledge of the Chinese authorities.

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