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54 of 55 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating glimpse into Tibetan culture, 14 April 2008
By 
Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lost World Of Tibet [DVD] (DVD)
This sympathetic documentary was first shown on BBC TV just when the protests about Tibet and China were in full swing; perfect timing. It provides a fascinating insight into the background to the current situation, and explains how the Dalai Lama comes to be leading a Tibetan government in exile in India. It also provides a window into the lives of Tibetan monks and peasants before the PRC took control of the country, all illustrated with fabulous archive footage plus interviews with the Dalai Lama, and an informed commentary by historian Cruickshank.

You might expect such a documentary, produced by the west in a time of some tension, to be very sympathetic towards to Tibetan cause and indeed it is rarely critical. Cruickshank is obviously horrified at the destruction of the temples and the traditional Tibetan culture which has taken place over the past half century.
But the film does also reveal how the Tibetans lived in a near-medieval society, isolated by choice from the rest of the world. The film explains how it is that 20% of the male population became monks, and how they were supported by the peasants in the fields. It doesn't shrink from showing footage of the less glamorous and less popular aspects of the religious festivals.
This helps to balance, a little, the very gentle and favourable interviews with the Dalai Lama himself. If you can ignore the politics of it all, then the film offers a captivating view of his childhood, his education, and how he recalls and explains his flight to India.
The high point of the film is the old footage, however. There's a good 30 minutes, interwoven with the modern material, of colour archive film showing the Tibet of the 1940s/50s -- huge festivals, amazing costumes, massive palaces, intricate rituals and all. Cruickshank's narration also helps to explain the cultural and religious significance of what's being shown and is, as always, breathlessly enthusiastic and charming.

The DVD also provides an extra 30 minutes of material which wasn't shown on the TV broadcast. So if you saw the TV show then you'd probably still want to watch this, but might prefer to rent rather than buy.
8/10
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent old footage of the Dalai Lama and the people and ceremonies of Lhasa prior to the Chinese invasion, 30 Sep 2009
By 
Jerome Ryan (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Lost World Of Tibet [DVD] (DVD)
89 minutes. This documentary shows life in Lhasa prior to the Chinese occupation of 1950. The film mixes current scenes in Dharamsala, the home of the Tibetan Government in Exile, recently restored colour video footage from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s, and recent interviews with the Dalai Lama and other Tibetans who lived through those times. The old video footage shows Lhasa, including the Potala Palace, the Barkhor and Linkhor, and Norbulingka, the people of Lhasa and their dress and traditional costumes, Buddhist practices like prostration, festivals like Losar New Year, masked dances, horseback riding, picnics, folk dancing at Norbulingka, military performances, wrestling, weight lifting, and foot races.

The Dalai Lama is almost like a giddy schoolboy watching the old footage of his parents and family, and watching himself over those early years. The Dalai Lama is carried in a large procession through the streets of Lhasa between his Winter Potala Palace and his summer Norbulingka Palace. We see the Dalai Lama arriving at Drepung monastery to begin the start of the debates for his doctor of Buddhism exams in front of 8000 monks. He continued his test at Sera monastery, and the final exam went smoothly.

There is black and white video footage of the Chinese invasion of Tibet and on the streets of Lhasa in 1951. We see the Dalai Lama crossing the river in a boat as he departs Lhasa in 1954 to visit China and meet with Mao Tsetung. The situation in Lhasa in 1959 became very tense and the Dalai Lama decided to leave Tibet, filled with (quote) anxiety, fear, a little doubt, hesitation, and sadness all mixed.

DVD extras: Worldwide TV version (59 minutes). Contemporary life in Dharamsala (23 minutes): monks and nuns praying, chanting, eating, and debating, making butter sculptures; the Tibetans, Indians and foreigners on the streets of Dharamsala; a colourful Cham masked dance. There is also some extra old film footage (6 minutes) of a massive butter sculpture being raised on a scaffold, Tibetan wild flowers, Gyantse, and crossing the Tsangpo River in a large barge and a coracle.

The old footage of the Dalai Lama and the people and ceremonies of Lhasa is excellent. The modern interviews give this old footage a freshness as they remember the old times.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lost World of Tibet DVD BBC, 29 Nov 2009
By 
Pamela Cooper Birch (Spain) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Lost World Of Tibet [DVD] (DVD)
Very interesting with footage from before the Chinese invasion of Tibet, showing the old buddhist traditions, dress, practices etc.
Also the Dalai Lama interviews give an unusual insight into his warm relationship with his parents and family who can be seen in the video. I can recommend it as a unique document about Tibet and the life of the Dalai Lama in his youth and the tremendous responsibility of being the political as well as the spiritual leader of Tibet in such conflictive years with the Chinese.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars interesting, 4 Feb 2012
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This review is from: The Lost World Of Tibet [DVD] (DVD)
We thought this DVD was very interesting and informative, very well presented such a secretive place rediscovered. facinating place and people.
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5.0 out of 5 stars valuable film, 22 Feb 2014
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This review is from: The Lost World Of Tibet [DVD] (DVD)
a valuable film capturing Tibet as it was / is as it changes in these times. Definatly one for your shelf
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just great!, 1 Dec 2013
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This review is from: The Lost World Of Tibet [DVD] (DVD)
Really interesting DVD .. learnt much about the place, and the footage is a privilege to see :) Not much more to say really!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 5 Aug 2014
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This review is from: The Lost World Of Tibet [DVD] (DVD)
So much I did not know Excellent
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The Lost World Of Tibet [DVD]
The Lost World Of Tibet [DVD] by Dan Cruickshank (DVD - 2008)
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