Tibet in Song

Tibetan, English
Czech subtitles

In 1995, the Tibetan musicologist Ngawang Choephel set off for his homeland, from where he had fled to India as a child. Using a small camera, he attempted to document the extent to which Tibetans in their occupied country had managed to preserve their rich musical heritage. To his horror, he discovered that Chinese pop music could be heard everywhere in Lhasa, and that most young Tibetans preferred this to traditional songs. He only managed to hear the latter when he got to the countryside. While recording folk songs he was arrested and sentenced to 18 years in prison for espionage. He was only able to continue working on his stirring and very personal documentary six and a half years later, when he was finally released following international pressure. This emotionally charged film also records the unrest in Lhasa in March 2008, as well as its brutal suppression. It also contains testimony from young Tibetans who were tortured in Chinese prisons, and lays bare the real nature of China’s occupation policy in Tibet. The film won a Special Jury Prize at Sundance festival 2009. Rudolf Vrba Jury awarded Special Mention to Tibet in Song at One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival in Prague, 2010.