Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion

on September 19, 2003 by Wade Major
One of the finest documentaries to be released in this or any year, "Tibet: The Cry of the Snow Lion" is a breathtakingly comprehensive account of the history and ongoing plight of the titular Central Asian nation which, for more than a half-century now, has suffered under the occupation and brutal rule of the People's Republic of China.

Narrated by Martin Sheen, "Tibet" begins in the present with what seems to be smuggled video of protests and atrocities committed only a few years hence. Eyewitness narration gives it bone-chilling resonance, generating an almost unbearable sense of urgency even before the opening credits run. Having sufficiently disarmed their viewers at the get-go, filmmakers Tom Peosay, Sue Peosay and Victoria Mudd proceed to offer a methodical account of Tibetan cultural and religious history with an emphasis on the Chinese invasion, the Dalai Lama's exile and recent Chinese efforts to forcibly colonize and modernize the region. Firsthand accounts and expert testimony from the likes of renowned Buddhism expert Prof. Robert F. Thurman are supplemented by extensive film and video footage depicting the resiliency of the longsuffering Tibetan people throughout five agonizing decades of repression and genocide.

As objective as any film on the subject can possibly be, "Tibet" was reportedly made over the course of a decade, sustained by a passion and dedication on the part of its makers that resonates in every frame of this gripping, heartbreaking odyssey. There is scarcely any need for facile Michael Moore-style editorializing here--simply contrasting the testimony of tortured Buddhist nuns with the hollow rationalizations of Chinese government stooges provides more than enough proverbial rope with which to hang what is arguably the world's most insidious and sophisticated terrorist regime. Directed by Tom Peosay. Written by Sue Peosay and Victoria Mudd. Produced by Maria Florio, Victoria Mudd, Tom Peosay and Sue Peosay. An Artistic License release. Documentary. Unrated. Running time: 104 min

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