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Dreaming Lhasa

A Film by Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam

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Dreaming Lhasa is part of The Human Rights Watch Collection.

Karma, a Tibetan filmmaker from New York, goes to Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama's exile headquarters in northern India, to make a documentary about former political prisoners who have escaped from Tibet. She wants to reconnect with her roots but is also escaping a deteriorating relationship back home.

One of Karma's interviewees is Dhondup, an enigmatic ex-monk who has just escaped from Tibet. He confides in her that his real reason for coming to India is to fulfill his dying mother's last wish, to deliver a charm box to a long-missing resistance fighter. Karma finds herself unwittingly falling in love with Dhondup even as she is sucked into the passion of his quest, which becomes a journey into Tibet's fractured past and a voyage of self-discovery.

What the Critics are Saying

"For many in the West, Tibet is the last romantic place left on earth. But beyond the stately mountain ranges, saffron robes and timeless traditions lies a struggle unfolding very much in the here and now. Dreaming Lhasa is the first film to capture both the majesty of Tibetan Buddhist culture and the complexity of its ties to the outside world."
- Cameron Bailey, Toronto International Film Festival

"The beauty and lyricism of this film is transformative, evoking the splendour of nature and humanity in metaphysical, historical and culturally specific terms."
- Tammy Stone, The Festival Daily, Toronto

"Propelled by the powers of gentle persuasion and emotional subtlety... well worth the effort and time." - Hindustan Times

"Handled with a light, deft touch... the first feature film that challenges the conventional view of Tibet in a pleasant and thoughtful manner." - Neue Zürcher Zeitung (Switzerland)


See details about this film's theatrical run.

Click here to learn about Human Rights Watch work in Tibet.

Features and Specifications

Bonus materials:
  • "Making Of" documentary
  • Interview with Filmmakers
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Short Film: Rights...and Wrongs
  • and more!

Format: DVD
Release Year: 2005
Running Time: 90 minutes
Color: Color
Language: English and Tibetan w/English Subtitles

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