The Cloud Behind the Sun: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom
“The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom” is a compelling, well made, beautifully photographed and historically important documentary that updates the long standing issue of the Dalai Lama and Tibet’s ongoing conflict with Chinese rule. The film takes place during 2008 which turned out to be a significant year in the nearly fifty-year-old conflict. In March of 2008 Tibetans living in India organized a march to Tibet to protest China’s domination of their country. China gained control of Tibet in 1959. The march was to take six months and attracted a large amount of attention. At the same time anti-China protests broke out in Tibet while China put pressure on India to stop the marchers.
Filmmakers Tenzing Sonam and Ritu Sarin show all sides of the protest. The marchers, who obviously want independence for Tibet, feel that the Dalai Lama should be leading them to give their cause greater legitimacy. The Dalai Lama explains his “Middle Way Approach,” saying that he is giving up the idea of independence asking instead for cultural and social autonomy for Tibet. His view causes disagreement among his followers. The “Middle Way Approach” seems vague, ineffective and not unifying. Meanwhile Tibet is being flooded with Chinese immigrants who dilute the Tibetan culture while China rejects the “Middle Way Approach.” “The Sun Behind the Clouds” is a fascinating look at an aging leader and his younger followers all trying to find a solution to a seemingly unsolvable problem.
“The Sun Behind the Clouds” was recently the subject of controversy when the state-run China Film Group protested screenings of the film at the Palm Springs International Film Festival by pulling the Chinese feature “City of Life and Death” from the festival. Originally Film Forum was to have shown “City of Life and Death” but has replaced it with “The Sun Behind the Clouds,” which is scheduled to play at Film Forum through April 13.
The Sun Behind the Clouds, directors Tenzing Sonam and Ritu Sarin, 2009,
White Crane Films, 79 minutes