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(Nov 29, 2005)
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This personal history and family turmoil provides an intimate perspective on the Tibetan cause, and much of the film was shot illegally in Tibet with digital home-video cameras, under the noses of the Chinese police. Many of the Tibetan actors and crewmembers remain unnamed in the credits to protect their identities, and this clandestine production strategy gives Windhorse a sense of urgent authenticity, also resulting in a variety of interesting anecdotes in Wagner's audio commentary, recorded with cowriter/coproducer Julia Elliot and exiled Tibetan cowriter Thupten Tsering. The result is more of a human-rights treatise than a truly satisfying movie, but Windhorse retains enough dramatic impact to provide a powerful and still controversial look at a political crisis that remains stubbornly unsolved. --Jeff Shannon
Top Customer Reviews
This film began in a small, peaceful village in western Tibet in three years after the Cultural Revolution ended where Dorjee, Dolkar and Pema as the children lived and played happily in carefree matter. One afternoon, two police officers went into this village while the three children played cheerfully. Both then went into the children's home and shot the children's grandfather who displayed a poster in protest against the ruthless Chinese Communists and telling the Chinese to leave Tibet. This incident struck into the hearts of the three children forever. Eighteen years later after the death of their grandfather, all three of them were grown up and took the different paths. Dolkar, a lovely and gorgeous Tibetan woman who was fluent in both Chinese and Tibetan and had a Chinese boyfriend Duan-Ping from Chengdu, was a famous singer in the nightclub in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. She successfully signed a contract with the Chinese manager that would make her a national pop singer in China. She vowed that she would heed the "law and order" from the manager and the Communist Party so she could get huge salaries to support her family. Her older brother Dorjee, who also lived in Lhasa with her family, was a drunkard who was unemployed because he resented the Chinese people and had very little knowledge of Chinese language.Read more ›
This story, based on true events in Tibet tells the tales of three children, Dorjee, Pema and Dolkar, who grow apart after witnessing the murder of their grandfather. Dorjee becomes a bum, Dolkar a Chinese pop singer, and Pema a nun.
Dolkar enjoys her life as a singer with her Chinese boyfriend and often sings pro-chinese anthems for the money it brings her (much to Dorjee's obvious dismay.) When she is offered a chance at a televised concert shown all over China, she is thrilled, however when her cousin Pema is released into her care after suffering Chinese brutality in prison, she must re-think all of her ideals.
Dorjee befriends a young american tourist named Amy, who has learnt Tibetan in school. After initially teasing her, he shows her the REAL Lhasa, and enlists her help in recording and smuggling out information about the abuse Pema has suffered.
Pema is haunted by the memories of her grandfather's murder and while walking in Lhasa one day, starts to protest the Chinese occupation, whereupon she is sent into political prison. There she must use all of her will power and faith to keep her and her roommate from the convent alive.
The story keeps you on the edge of your seat, tugs at your heartstrings, and will leave you shocked, if not in tears.
Paul Wagner's 'Windhorse' has the feel and look of a television docu-drama. If I just happened to be channel surfing and came upon this film in progress I would probably assume it to be a new Asian soap opera on cable.
However having said that it must be understood by any potential viewer that this is a film where the message is first and foremost. Secretly filmed on location in Tibet at great risk, the intent of this movie is to enlighten the world to the ongoing oppression of the Tibetan people by the occupying Chinese miltary. For that reason alone it's worth a viewing.
Positives: It contains some magnificent panoramic views of the Tibetan landscape and exotic rural and urban settings. There's also some fine camera work in monasteries displaying the ornate colors and imagery the Tibetans are known for.
-3 Stars as docu-drama/soap opera - 5 Stars for the message - 4 Stars overall
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very educational, and a must see film to learn the truth about what happened and is happening in Tibet, however I do not speak Tibetan and probably assumed that there would be... Read morePublished 13 months ago by bluebird
A good film, and eye-opening for a lot of Western audiences. But it stumbles, a little bit, in not knowing whether or not it's a fictional artistic narrative, or a documentary.Published on April 17, 2014 by David M. Sellet
I enjoyed the movie very much. Shows the reality for many in Dharamsala and the Tibetan refugee community. Honest and pulls at your heart. I'll enjoy watching this many times.Published on December 31, 2013 by Senor Nahual
97 minutes. Filmed in 1996 in Nepal with some external scenes illegally shot in Tibet. This film tells the story of a Tibetan family who migrate from Western Tibet to Lhasa and... Read morePublished on September 30, 2009 by Jerome Ryan
I first viewed this film from Netflix. I was so moved by the film that I just had to purchase it. Having been in Tibet,I know these people are very peaceful & don't deserve this... Read morePublished on August 25, 2008 by Montana Sal
Everthing about this film kept me mesmerized. I had no idea that I was watching the movie for over an hour and a half until it ended. Read morePublished on August 4, 2006 by Mary A. Ozug
This movie is surely a must for anyone interested in modern Tibet or for anyone that still thinks Tibet is that depicted by Scorsese or Annaud. Read morePublished on July 13, 2006 by Magalini Sabina
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