Tibet in Song (2010) - Rotten Tomatoes

Tibet in Song (2010)

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In the West, surrounded by iPods, instant downloads and an ever-changing onslaught of new music and performers, a simple song is something easily taken for granted. In the East, in Tibet, folk songs serve as the connective tissue between regions, passed down in the oral tradition through an increasingly fragmented country and region, much of which remains under harsh Communist Chinese rule after 50 years of occupation. Tibet was a sovereign nation for thousands of years, with its own music, heritage, laws and customs. Its folk songs convey and preserve ethnic, religious and philosophical customs that date to primeval times. But China's "patriotic reeducation" of Tibetan citizens through its dissemination of nationalistic pop songs is designed to wipe out Tibetan culture. TIBET IN SONG examines what happens when one man, Ngawang Choephel, a Tibetan native who fled his country of origin for India at the age of two, joining thousands (including the Dali Lama) seeking refuge from the Chinese occupation. In 1995, Choephel returned to Tibet to make a documentary film on Tibetan music rescuing his culture from extinction. It was then that TIBET IN SONG began. But soon after Choephel was arrested on charges of espionage by Chinese authorities. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison, serving nearly seven years before his highly publicized release in 2002 with the help of then- Vice President Al Gore, Paul McCartney, and Annie Lennox, among many others. Undeterred by his seven years of imprisonment, Choephel was ever determined to finish his film and production resumed immediately after his release. For the first time since his release from prison Ngawang Choephel can tell his story. With stunning cinematography of Tibet and rare access to voices of the region, TIBET IN SONG is the story of one man and one nation struggling to save the culture of their people. The film weaves a mesmerizing story of beauty, pain, brutality and resilience, introducing Tibet to the world in a way never before seen on film. -- (C) Guge

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Critic Reviews for Tibet in Song

All Critics (14) | Top Critics (6)

Could pressure by outside activists cause the Chinese to temper its campaign against traditional culture? "Tibet in Song" suggests that it's worth trying.

November 4, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

A potent story wrapped in a weak documentary.

October 22, 2010 | Full Review…
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

The business of cultural erasure through music gains literal status and gruesome consequences in Ngawang Choephel's documentary.

September 26, 2010 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…
Slant Magazine
Top Critic

Doubly powerful because he also weaves in the overall history of Tibet's struggle, a primer on the Chinese government's campaign to muzzle Tibetan culture and vignettes from other Tibetans who resisted.

September 24, 2010 | Rating: 3.5/5 | Full Review…
New York Times
Top Critic

[An] intriguing, and at times too dispassionate, chronicle of injustice.

September 22, 2010 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Make no mistake about his ability to make social studies entertaining: A montage about Tibet's many supporters is set to the Beastie Boys playing "Sabotage" live.

September 21, 2010 | Full Review…
Village Voice
Top Critic

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