For this year’s Retrospective, CAAMFest hosts its Curatorial Residents, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, the directors of the new Dharamsala International Film Festival in India. Sarin and Sonam created the festival to bring the best of contemporary, independent Indian and world cinema to the city that is home to the Dalai Lama and the capital of the Tibetan community in exile. One of two films featured in CAAMfest’s Retrospective, the narrative DREAMING LHASA follows a Tibetan filmmaker named Karma as she travels to Dharamsala to interview political prisoners. While there, she becomes involved in an unexpected journey with an ex-monk who is on a journey of his own.
Whether good or bad, Karma (Tenzin Chokyi Gyatso), a young Tibetan journalist from the Big Apple, arrives in Dharamsala, home to the Dalai Lama in exile. Her research into the stories of former Tibetan political prisoners leads her to Dhondup (Jampa Kalsang), an ex-monk who fled Tibet after being imprisoned for subversive activities. Dhondup enlists her help in a seemingly innocent endeavor to deliver a prized charm box to a long-missing resistance fighter. Set in the majestic Himalayan foothills, Dreaming Lhasa’s journey of discovery becomes one of self-discovery as Karma is immersed in the complicated world of the Tibetan diaspora where a younger generation, born in India, wrestles with shifting identities. The film’s score, much of it DJ-sampled Tibetan folk music and indigenous Himalayan hip-hop, speaks most brashly of the hybrid nature of being a refugee.
- Pacific Film Archive
In attendance: CAAMFest 2014 Retrospective Honorees Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam
Co-presented by Motherland Nepal