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CHILDREN OF TIBET

SYNOPSIS:
The story of three self conscious but brave Tibetan children aged 8, 9 and 11, who are among the thousands who risk their lives escaping across the Himalayas to attend school and start new lives in India, defying the Chinese who are stealing their country, their culture and their future.

Review by Andrew L. Urban
The first person we see is the Dalai Lama of Tibet, his by now familiar face a picture of routine and benign humanity, handing out papers to a line of Tibetan children, in his exile home of Dharamsala in India - 4000 kms from his homeland.

This film is being released in Australia around the 46th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising (1959) which resulted in the deaths of thousands of Tibetans and the escape into exile of the Dalai Lama.

The children tell their personal stories with the sort of disarming deadpan frankness that betrays the depth of their feelings and fears. But it's not all talking heads, and in fact images drive the film, with a subtle and suitable score by Caitlin Yeo adding to our involvement. And to Wearne's credit, the film is not devoid of quiet humour.

Winner of the Best Debut Film award at the Mumbai International Film Festival in 2004, Melinda Wearne's doco is beautifully, caringly made, combining raw interviews with the three children and footage to put these into the socio political context. There are also scenes of the land that are riveting. The culturally specific story has enormous universal resonance and Australia can be justly proud to have helped make the film through its funding program delivered via the Australian Film Commission.

For Tibetans, these children are the potential carriers and saviours of Tibetan culture - when the day comes that Tibetans can return to claim their own land.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

CHILDREN OF TIBET (G)
(Aust, 2004)

CAST: Documentary featuring Tibetan children

PRODUCER: Luke Hardiman & Melinda Wearne

DIRECTOR: Melinda Wearne

SCRIPT: Nerida Moore & Melinda Wearne

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Luke Hardiman

EDITOR: Luke Hardiman

MUSIC: Caitlin Yeo

RUNNING TIME: 53 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Ronin Films

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Sydney: March 3, Canberra & Melbourne March 10; Brisbane March 24, 2005







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