International Studies & Programs

Film Collection

The Asian Studies Center has an extensive collection of fiction and non‑fiction films available to borrow. Visit the center or contact us for more information.

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Tibet's Lost Paradise: Shangri-La Country/Region of Focus: Tibet
Length: 050min
Type of Film: Documentary
Language: English

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Description: Journey high into the Himalayas in search of the legendary utopia known as Shangri-La, and explore the history of the mythical place that enchants us to this day.

Dalai Lama, The Soul of Tibet Country/Region of Focus: Tibet
Length: 050min
Type of Film: Documentary
Language: English

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Description: Born Tenzin Gyatso, he is the fourteenth man recognized by his people as Buddha's reincarnation and honored with the title he is known by worldwide-the Dalai Lama. Since 1959, when he fled his nation after a failed rebellion against the occupying Chinese, he has lived in exile. Interviews with Chinese scholars and Tibetan activists, including actor Richard Gere, and the Dalai Lama himself detail the long struggle to free Tibet. See footage of the defining moments of his life-including when he accepted the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize

Home of Tibet (The Story of Sonam's Return to his Homeland" Country/Region of Focus: Tibet
Length: 055min
Type of Film: Documentary
Language: English

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Description: Home to Tibet is a rare view into the world of Tibet and its people. This film documents a Tibetan refugee's return to his occupied homeland for the first time since his escape 12 years earlier. It is the compelling story of one person's confrontation with his past, his country's past, his future, and his people's futiure. Stunning archval footage provides the historical context for this extraordinary human drama.

Secret Heart of Asia- Inside Tibet Country/Region of Focus: Tibet
Length: 060min
Type of Film: Documentary
Language: English

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Description: This film contains rare archival footage of ceremonies and ritual public festivals at the Potata, the Dalai Lama's summer palace and the Fokang temple recorded before China's invasion of Tibet. We witness the siege of Gandrn Monastery as well as recent footage, shot under the constraints of government approval, showing the Tivetans striving to rebuild their homes and temples in the wake of China's repression.

Spirit of Tibet, The Country/Region of Focus: Tibet
Length: 046min
Type of Film: Documentary
Language: English

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Description: This remarkable documentary may be the best and most compelling introduction to Tibetan Buddhism and culture currently available on video. Never before has the rich and intricate tapestry of Tibetan Buddhism been shown on such an intimate and personal level. Filled with rare and dazzling footage shot in Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal, the film explores the wonders of Tibeten art, ritual, philosophy, and sacred dance, as illustrated through the life of one of Tibet's most revered 20th-century religious masters, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Renowned as a writer, poet, scholar, and religious teacher, Khysentse Rinpoche's wisdom and compassion inspired all who met him. His many students throughout the world included the Dalai Lama himself, who speaks candidly about his own spiritual life in the film. This unique portrait relates Khysentse Rinpoche's story from birth to death... and to rebirth, highlighting his escape following China's invasion of Tibet and his determined work to preserve and spread Buddhist teachings.This remarkable documentary may be the best and most compelling introduction to Tibetan Buddhism and culture currently available on video. Never before has the rich and intricate tapestry of Tibetan Buddhism been shown on such an intimate and personal level. Filled with rare and dazzling footage shot in Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal, the film explores the wonders of Tibeten art, ritual, philosophy, and sacred dance, as illustrated through the life of one of Tibet's most revered 20th-century religious masters, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Renowned as a writer, poet, scholar, and religious teacher, Khysentse Rinpoche's wisdom and compassion inspired all who met him. His many students throughout the world included the Dalai Lama himself, who speaks candidly about his own spiritual life in the film. This unique portrait relates Khysentse Rinpoche's story from birth to death... and to rebirth, highlighting his escape following China's invasion of Tibet and his determined work to preserve and spread Buddhist teachings.This remarkable documentary may be the best and most compelling introduction to Tibetan Buddhism and culture currently available on video. Never before has the rich and intricate tapestry of Tibetan Buddhism been shown on such an intimate and personal level. Filled with rare and dazzling footage shot in Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal, the film explores the wonders of Tibeten art, ritual, philosophy, and sacred dance, as illustrated through the life of one of Tibet's most revered 20th-century religious masters, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Renowned as a writer, poet, scholar, and religious teacher, Khysentse Rinpoche's wisdom and compassion inspired all who met him. His many students throughout the world included the Dalai Lama himself, who speaks candidly about his own spiritual life in the film. This unique portrait relates Khysentse Rinpoche's story from birth to death... and to rebirth, highlighting his escape following China's invasion of Tibet and his determined work to preserve and spread Buddhist teachings.This remarkable documentary may be the best and most compelling introduction to Tibetan Buddhism and culture currently available on video. Never before has the rich and intricate tapestry of Tibetan Buddhism been shown on such an intimate and personal level. Filled with rare and dazzling footage shot in Tibet, Bhutan, and Nepal, the film explores the wonders of Tibeten art, ritual, philosophy, and sacred dance, as illustrated through the life of one of Tibet's most revered 20th-century religious masters, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche. Renowned as a writer, poet, scholar, and religious teacher, Khysentse Rinpoche's wisdom and compassion inspired all who met him. His many students throughout the world included the Dalai Lama himself, who speaks candidly about his own spiritual life in the film. This unique portrait relates Khysentse Rinpoche's story from birth to death... and to rebirth, highlighting his escape following China's invasion of Tibet and his determined work to preserve and spread Buddhist teachings.

Tibet on the Edge of Change Country/Region of Focus: Tibet
Length: 058min
Type of Film: Documentary
Language: English

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Description: This 54-minute introduction to Tibet has some pretty pictures but is lacking the strong story line needed to maintain interest. The focus on barley and Tibet's dependency on yaks seems like an odd starting point considering the country's tragic history. Tibet has been illegally occupied by China since their invasion in 1949 and His Holiness the Dalai Lama was forced into exile in 1959. This is noted as a written prologue but it is not until the latter part of the video that it is covered. Certainly China's effect on Tibet's ecosystem is worth documenting, and this is where William Bacon, described as a three time Emmy Award-winning cinematographer but credited on Tibet: On the Edge of Change as a producer, seems most comfortable. Strip mining, clear cutting, and nuclear waste are among the problems facing modern-day Tibet; however, viewers unfamiliar with Tibet will yearn for context and organization. Other options for learning about Tibet's unique and complex culture that inextricably links the Dalai Lama with Tibetans and their land would include Martin Scorsese's Kundun and the book My Land and My People: The Original Autobiography of His Holiness the Dalai Lama of Tibet. Music that evokes Tibet's Himalayas includes Yungchen Lhamo's Coming Home and the Gyoto Monks' Freedom Chants from the Roof of the World.

Tibetan Pilgrimage Country/Region of Focus: Tibet
Length: 042min
Type of Film: Documentary
Language: English

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Description: This film is an impression of Tibet by an American woman who traveled there in 1992. The journey lasted three weeks and covered over 2,000 miles by road in the Tibetan Autonomous Region and the adjoining Provinces of Ganzu and Quinghai where Tibetan Prefectures and cultural areas also exist.

Satya Country/Region of Focus: Tibet
Length: 028min
Type of Film: Documentary
Language: English

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Description: Since the Chinese occupation of Tibet, more than one million Tibetans have been tortured, executed or starved to death for their rold in demonstrations against the Chinese occupation. Tibetan nuns have fearlessly staged demonstrations for independence. Countless nuns have been imprisoned and tortured for shouting slogans, criticizing the Chinese state in conversations with foreigners, possessing posters which call for Tibetan independence, or hoisting the Tibetan flag. The treatment they receice as political prisoners is brutal. In a deeply personal an lyrical style, Satya: A prayer for the Enemy focuses on the testimonies of these nuns, revealing continued religious oppression and human rights abuses in occupied Tibet. For over forty years the Tibetans have adhered to the principles of nonviolent social change. Satya seeks to unverstand the basis and inspiration for this choice of nonviolence, and the spiritual principles that influence their understanding of the enemy.

A Song for Tibet Country/Region of Focus: Tibet
Length: 056min
Type of Film: Documentary
Language: English

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Description: A Song for Tibet is a 1991 Canadian short documentary film about efforts of Tibetans in exile, led by the Dalai Lama, to free their homeland and preserve their heritage.

Tibetan Book of the Dead: Part 1: Way of Life Country/Region of Focus: Tibet
Length: 045min
Type of Film: Documentary
Language: English

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Description: A Way of Life reveals the history of The Tibetan Book of the Dead and examines its traditional use in northern India, as well as its acceptance in Western hospices. Shot over a four-month period, the film contains footage of the rites and liturgies for a deceased Ladakhi elder and includes an interview with the Dalai Lama, who shares his views on the book's meaning and importance.