RITUALS OF RESISTANCE

Directed by Joy Dietrich, Tenzin Phuntsog

Official Selection, 2018 Margaret Mead FIlm Festival
Emerging Director – Documentary Award, 2019 Asian American International Film Festival

A nuanced look at non-violence within the Tibetan context, RITUALS OF RESISTANCE began as a way to present the forgotten 1966 film, “Raid into Tibet,” and later evolved into its current form: a haunting portrait of three Tibetans in exile, each engaging a different form of resistance to an occupied homeland:  violence, non-violence, and self-harm. 

Beginning with the most striking counter-narrative to the Dalai Lama’s non-violent “middle way,” a monk leaves his robes behind to take up guerrilla warfare in the 1960s as part of militant resistance to Chinese invaders. Their battles are captured in incredible footage that stands as stark refutation of notions of an uncontested Chinese occupation, and eventually connects to the ruins of a CIA-run Tibetan guerilla training ground in Colorado. 

Second is the co-director’s own mother, a Tibetan now living in San Diego, who could only relive childhood memories of her siblings through home videos. That is, until she secretly takes an extremely dangerous visit to a distant Tibetan village in the mid-2000s. Lastly, a student-activist living in India protests a 2006 appearance by Chinese leader Hu Jintao through organized self-immolation, a growing social phenomenon amongst Tibetans in exile. 

All three describe a fury, an unscratchable itch pushing the subjects beyond the limits of sanctioned action, and expanding the spiritual and political possibilities of resistance against colonization.

–Addy Zou

Co-presented by Worldview Project Book Club

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