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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet's Struggle for Freedom

June 21, 2010

Walter Addiego -
The San Francisco Chronicle
June 18, 2010

POLITE APPLAUSE Documentary. Directed by Ritu
Sarin and Tenzing Sonam. In English, Mandarin and
Tibetan with English subtitles. Not rated. 79
minutes. At the Opera Plaza in San Francisco and Shattuck Cinemas in Berkeley.

"The Sun Behind the Clouds" is a well-made and
sobering look at the current state of Tibet's
battle for some degree of autonomy.

Most notably, the film offers footage secretly
shot in Tibet showing China's brutal crackdown
against independence protesters in 2008, and
shows us dissension within the movement.

The documentary made the news columns in January
when China, in what may have been a punitive
move, pulled two films from the Palm Springs
International Film Festival, which was showing "The Sun Behind the Clouds."

The filmmakers - Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam -
use a 2,500-kilometer protest march that took
place prior to the Beijing Olympics as a reference point.

We see a good deal of the Dalai Lama, whose
advocacy of the "Middle Way" - an offer to accept
Chinese sovereignty in exchange for cultural and
religious freedoms - has come under fire by younger activists.

The debate is urgent, the film makes clear,
because a massive influx of Chinese has left
Tibetans a minority in their own country. "What
has happened to the Native Americans and the
native Australians is happening in Tibet," says one activist.

Chinese officials are heard making harsh
pronouncements, and the hard line isn't just
rhetoric, as we see in shots of the savage
treatment of protesting monks in Lhasa.

The film, to its credit, makes no attempt to
sugar-coat the hard truth: The activists are fighting an uphill battle.
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