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What Remains of Us (2004)
"Ce qu'il reste de nous" (original title)

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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 191 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 8 critic

A Tibetan-Canadian returns to her homeland to smuggle a secret message from the Dalai Lama and to document the occupation and cultural genocide of Tibet by China.

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Credited cast:
Kalsang Dolma ...
Herself (and narrator)


This bold documentary follows a young Tibetan refugee in Quebec as she returns to her native land carrying a video message by the Dalai Lama. Tibetan families gather around, transfixed by the images of the leader who since 1950 has been trying to obtain permission from the Chinese authorities to return to his homeland and his people. Written by Anonymous

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Humanity needs Tibet. Tibet needs humanity.







| |

Release Date:

2 April 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

What Remains of Us  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


CAD 489,000 (estimated)

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This documentary was shot secretly inside Tibet between 1996 and 2004, without the knowledge of Chinese authorities. See more »

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User Reviews

A powerful experience
1 November 2004 | by (Vancouver, B.C.) – See all my reviews

After 50 years of Chinese occupation, Tibet has lost most of its unique history, culture, language, and spiritual way of life. More than a million Tibetans have died under the Chinese occupation as a result of torture, starvation, and execution. Today, Tibetan people are denied most rights guaranteed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights including the rights to self-determination, freedom of speech, assembly, movement, expression and travel. There have been many films about the distressing events happening in Tibet but perhaps none as powerful as What Remains of Us, a Canadian documentary shot entirely in Tibet that allows us to witness the heartbreak from the Tibetan people themselves. Eight years in the making, it was voted the most popular Canadian film at the 2004 Vancouver International Film Festival. The only chance you will have to see this film if it is playing at a theater near you. For security reasons, it will never be released on video or DVD.

Filmmakers Francois Prevost and Hugo Latulippe joined with Kalsang Dolma, a Tibetan exile living in Quebec to bring a message from the exiled Dalai Lama to ordinary Tibetans. Dolma smuggled into Tibet videotape containing a message from the Tibetan spiritual leader urging his people to be true to the Buddhist ideals of compassion for your enemies and to continue their peaceful resistance. Participants were warned that there might be potential persecution for those who watched the video if the Chinese authorities should obtain the film and recognize them. Dolma takes the tape to peasant farmers, sex trade workers, families and friends crowded around the tiny screen, as many see an image of the Dalai Lama for the first time.

Some cry, others pray, many shake and all at first are speechless, unable to speak. When they do, some offer expressions of joy, some hope, others cynicism and despair but all express gratitude to the Dalai Lama. What Remains of Us is not just another special plea for an oppressed minority. It is a powerful experience that could be just as true for Native Americans, indigenous Canadians, and for all languages and cultures threatened by the onslaught of globalization. What Remains of Us allows us to understand not only how much Tibetans have lost but how much of our own humanity is in danger if indigenous cultures disappear. We may have to ask the question -- what remains of us? to ourselves.

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