Exiles: Tibet



Produced by
Clipper Media e RAI CINEMA

Written and directed by
Barbara Cupisti

Cinematography by
Sandro Bartolozzi

Film editing by
Alessandro Marinelli

Music by
Tommaso Gimignani
Franco Eco

Production Manager
Natascia Palmieri


The trilogy



The Tibetan diaspora, from 1950 to nowadays, told through a crescendo of testimonies of monks and spiritual leaders, former political prisoners and youth escaped from the occupation or born refugee in India.

The movie takes place in India. The main settings are Dharamsala –where the Tibetan Parliament in exile has its headquarter- and the Region of Laddak with its impressive and magnificent plateau, also known as “Small Tibet” because of the great cultural and geographical resemblance with the near Tibet. India is the country which has host the major number of Tibetan refugees, safeguarding their social, cultural and religious freedom of expression, rights still banned in their homeland.

The documentary starts with the story of the occupation of Tibet by the Chinese Government and the propaganda that accompanied it. Chinese were come “to support the economical growth of Tibet”, this was the slogan used by soldiers denying the will to conquer Tibet. The two main characters of the documentary, Palden Gyatso and Ama Ade, former political prisoners who have spent more than 30 years in the Chinese prisons, well describe the despotic drift of this historical event. From that date, around 80.000 Tibetans fleeing in neighbouring countries following the example of their spiritual guide, the XIV Dalai Lama.

The documentary goes on describing the daily life into the so called “Tibetan Children Villages”. These villages are born all over the country and since 50 years they are promoting refugee children’s education and training. Some of these children are born as refugee in India, others are non accompanied children coming by foot from Tibet throughout all the year thanks to the help of local guides. Children, often orphans, are accommodated in houses and foster mums are looking after them and take care of their growth and education. Each “mum” is looking after 10-12 children. There, they learn and practice the Tibetan culture and language as well as Buddhism and houseworks. This project demonstrates the great attention that Tibetans are giving to the education of new generations in order to make them able to preserve the culture of their people.

Tenzin, Lhamo and Khunsang are young Tibetans activists organising debates and demonstrations. They have followed the Dalai Lama’s exhortation asking to new generations to take the responsibility to claim and fight for the rights of their people.

Jahnag is a young monk escaped from Tibet. His tale give us a glimpse on the current situation of human rights violation in Tibet as well as on the Chinese project aimed at the Tibetan religion and culture’s destruction. Jahang lost his brother who self-immolated and many other young people are doing the same nowadays. The characters of the documentary give their opinion on the value of this action, extreme and peaceful at the same time since it damages only themselves. A symbolic action against the lack of freedom of expression so that the world become aware of what is life today in Tibet. An action that, in the words of one of the characters, “is full of hopes”.

The Tibetan Government in exile declared that since 1949 to nowadays, around 1 million and 250 thousand persons dead because of the Chinese repression. 137 young people self immolated. The only chance to maintain own culture and religion is to escape and to become a refugee. The ironic Dalai Lama’s final message burst into this dramatic picture suggesting to refugees all over the world to never loose the resolution, the courage and the hope.