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How do you reconcile a commitment to non-violence when faced with violence? Why do the poor often seem happier than the rich? Must a society lose its traditions in order to move into the future? These are some of the questions posed to His Holiness the Dalai Lama by filmmaker and explorer Rick Ray. Ray examines some of the fundamental questions of our time by weaving together observations from his own journeys throughout India and the Middle East, and the wisdom of an extraordinary spiritual leader. This is his story, as told and filmed by Rick Ray during a private visit to his monastery in Dharamsala, India over the course of several months. Also included is rare historical footage as well as footage supplied by individuals who at great personal risk, filmed with hidden cameras within Tibet. Part biography, part philosophy, part adventure and part politics, "10 Questions for The Dalai Lama" conveys more than history and more than answers - it opens a window into the heart of an ... Written by
monterey media/Rick Ray Films
I'm giving this movie 5 stars just for its informational value. I did learn a lot about the Tibetans' struggle for freedom under Chinese oppression, and there was some fascinating archival footage. Also, it gets some points for the overly prepped and belabored, but finally interesting scenes where the Dalai Lama actually talks.
However, the overall tone of the film annoyed me. Because of the way the voice-overs are done, the Dalai Lama is presented in a disrespectful way.
It is a well-known fact that the Dalai Lama is a refreshing, fun-loving person who likes to laugh. But here we are treated to a montage where he is semi-mocked for proposing festivals for world peace, followed by the his assistant's informing us that he doesn't even like festivals himself and often falls asleep during them (is the assistant accusing him of hypocrisy - proposing something he himself hates?), all over top of video where he seems to be thoroughly enjoying himself at festivals. Which is the truth? I thought it was Documentary Making 101 not to confront the viewer with pictures and words that conflict with each other, unless this cognitive dissonance is being created on purpose for some subversive intent. What was the subversive intent, here? I don't think there was one, I think it was just sloppy film-making.
Next we are informed how much the Dalai Lama loves to laugh, even at "inappropriate" moments, and we are treated to video after video where he is laughing with the rich and powerful figures that he has met with over the years, in ceremonies which are supposedly very formal. I personally do not consider his behavior here inappropriate. It's not like people are offended. His laughter is infectious and he makes people happier by it. Yet the overly serious intoning of the narrator goes on and on how "inappropriate" this is. Is the Dalai Lama a giggling idiot? Apparently the narrator thinks so.
And then there's just something about the way the interviewer looks while he's interviewing the Dalai Lama -- sort of like Jed Clampett come to the mountain to talk to the wise man.
Even when there was fascinating archival footage, the narration almost ruined it, with the narrator's flat and uninteresting delivery. I don't want to discourage anyone from learning more about Tibet and the Dalai Lama, but I myself could barely sit through this film. It was that annoying to me to see the 14th Dalai Lama reduced to some giggling idiot who cannot even lead his people to squash the nasty Chinese (and that was there as a subtext, in my opinion -- like Jed Clampett, I felt like the narrator was someone who might admire a pacifist and a wise man, but really, dudes, let's break out the rifles, 'kay?).
I hope someone, someday soon makes a really thought-provoking and well-done documentary about the Dalai Lama. In my opinion, this isn't it.
3 of 15 people found this review helpful.
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