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OLD DOG + LEAVING FEAR BEHIND: Cinema of Resistance in Tibet
Wednesday, February 28 @ 6:15 pm
Stick around after the film for a discussion in the bar! Each ticket includes a free drink after the film with leaders in the Tibetan Freedom Movement from Students for a Free Tibet.
Old Dog – Dir. Pema Tseden. 2012. 88 min.
Leaving Fear Behind – Dir. Dhondup Wangchen and Jigme Gyatso. 2008. 25 min.
Leaving Fear Behind, a short film by self-taught Tibetan filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, is an extraordinary glimpse into Tibetan sentiment on the eve of the Beijing Olympics in 2008. “An unadorned indictment of the Chinese government” (The New York Times), the film landed Wangchen in prison for 6 years on charges of “inciting separatism.” Students for a Free Tibet was among the groups that campaigned for his freedom. In December he finally escaped Tibet and joined his family after ten years of separation.
Old Dog is both a humorous and tragic allegory and a sober depiction of life in contemporary rural Tibet. The Tibetan nomad mastiff, an exotic prize dog in China, fetches millions of dollars from wealthy Chinese. When a young man notices several thefts of mastiffs from Tibetan farm families, he decides to sell his family’s dog before it is stolen and sold on the black market. His father, an aging Tibetan herder, is furious when he discovers their dog missing. When the father seeks to buy the dog back, it leads to a series of tragicomic events that threaten to tear the family apart. Weaving together narrative strands of humor and gravity, Old Dog beautifully depicts life among the rural Tibetan people and the erosion of Tibetan culture under the pressures of contemporary society. Director Pema Tseden is the leading filmmaker of a newly emerging Tibetan cinema and the first director in China to film his movies entirely in the Tibetan language.
“Part neorealistic parable and part Jarmusch-like deadpan riff… It’s both a sly piece of ethnography and a social satire that reads like a cosmic joke, right up until its climax makes the chuckle catch in your throat.”
– Time Out New York
“A grim and uncompromising allegory of the waning of Tibetan traditions and values… Raw and resolute, this unsettling fable feels driven by an anger that remains largely unexpressed. Akku may say very little, but his resolve is clear: whatever else the Chinese may have taken, they’re not getting his dog.”
– The New York Times
Students for a Free Tibet works in solidarity with the Tibetan people in their struggle for freedom and independence. They are a chapter-based network of young people and activists around the world. Through education, grassroots organizing, and non-violent direct action, they campaign for Tibetans’ fundamental right to political freedom. Their role is to empower and train youth as leaders in the worldwide movement for social justice.