"Impeccably made... Breathtaking...
A more concise and affecting summation
of the Tibetan crisis would be hard to imagine" David Kehr, New York Times

The film opens with the memories of a journey to Tibet by two young American adventurers, who suddenly find themselves in the middle of Tibetan demonstrations against Chinese rule. Their riveting story is supported by interviews with Tibetan monks and nuns who participated in the demonstrations, accompanied by a powerful assemblage of images documenting the massacre and crackdown by Chinese forces. The heroic story of Jampa Tenzin, a monk who rescued prisoners from a burning police station, his subsequent capture, torture and death, leads to a prayer by the Dalai Lama, and sets the tone for the epic tale about to unfold: a story of struggle, courage, and compassion.

After the title, the audience is transported to the beginning of the story, the legendary "rooftop of the world" -- via spectacular footage of Tibet’s awe-inspiring landscape and timeless glimpses of Tibet’s unique culture. A brief introduction to Tibetan history dispels popular misconceptions that Tibet is a tiny mountain kingdom and that Tibet has always been a land of peace and tranquillity. Tibetan elders recollect the homeland of their youth. The foundations of Tibetan Buddhism are presented, lavishly illustrated with a wealth of stunning cinematography. These contemporary images support the point made by Buddhist scholar Stephen Batchelor that Tibetan traditions still endure in more remote areas of its homeland today, demonstrating that Tibetan culture is not yet lost.

Experts and witnesses discuss the history of Sino-Tibetan relations, and introduce the story of the current Dalai Lama. An archival view of the Dalai Lama’s former residence, the Potala, suddenly cuts to a modern view, and a barrage of arresting images from today’s Tibet: crowds of Chinese immigrants, destruction of historic Tibetan neighborhoods, soldiers, prostitutes. Interviews express the powerlessness Tibetans feel in the face of Chinese colonization masked as modernization and development. A Chinese government spokesman counters with Beijing’s official positions on Tibet, which leads to an overview of the current religious crackdown, all reinforced with rare visuals and interview testimony.

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