50 years have passed since the fall of Tibet. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual and temporal leader, has lived in exile for most of his life, trying to find a peaceful solution to the Tibet issue by giving up the goal of independence and reaching a compromise with China. But his efforts have failed to yield any positive outcome, and his people are becoming more desperate.
March 2008. Tibet erupts as the biggest uprising since China took control in 1959, spreads across the country. The Tibetan people, for one brief moment, demonstrate to the world their unhappiness under Chinese rule and their desire for freedom. But China cracks down hard on the protests. It is also the year of the Beijing Olympics.
Even as the unrest spreads in Tibet, exile Tibetans in India, frustrated by the lack of political progress, set out on a march to their homeland, convinced that this is the only action they can take to support their countrymen. Meanwhile, there is a huge groundswell of international sympathy for the Tibetan cause.
This is a year of dramatic possibilities for Tibet. Can the Dalai Lama’s strategy of non-violence and compromise based on his Buddhist beliefs finally make a breakthrough?
In The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom, Tibetan filmmaker, Tenzing Sonam, and his partner, Ritu Sarin, take a uniquely Tibetan perspective on the trials and tribulations of the Dalai Lama and his people as they continue their struggle for freedom in the face of determined suppression by one of the world’s biggest and most powerful nations. The filmmakers had intimate access to the Dalai Lama and followed him over the course of an eventful year, which included the 2008 protests in Tibet, the international response to it, the Beijing Olympics, and the breakdown in talks between his representatives and the Chinese government.
Set against this backdrop, the film explores the interplay between the personal and the historic, spirituality and politics, and the tension between the Dalai Lama’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the Tibet situation based on compromise and dialogue, and the impatience of a younger generation of Tibetans who are ready to take a more confrontational course.