Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion (2003)

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Released 7-Dec-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Featurette-Interview: Tenzin Atisha, The Dalai Lama's Rep. In Australia
Featurette-Interview: Tsegyam, The Dalai Lama's Representative InTaiwan
Featurette-Interview: Paul Bourke, Head Of Australia Tibet Council
Additional Footage
Trailer-ATC Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Web Links
DVD-ROM Extras-Statements Of HH Dalai Lama & Prof. Samdhong Rimpoche
Trailer-Samsara, Control Room, The Weather Underground
Trailer-The Corporation, Madame Sata, The Stroll
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 99:43 (Case: 103)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Tom Piozet
Studio
Distributor
Earthworks Films
Madman Entertainment
Starring Victoria Mudd
Sue Peosay
Edward Edwards
Ed Harris
Shirley Knight
Tim Robbins
Susan Sarandon
Martin Sheen
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Jeff Beal
Nawang Khechog


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

When I see beings of wicked nature, oppressed by violent misdeeds and afflictions, may I hold them dear, as if I had found a rare and precious treasure.  The 14th Dalai Lama .

    The plight of Tibet and its people has been a relatively silent struggle for more than fifty years. The lack of real political pressure from key world nations has been disappointing, given their constant rhetoric on human rights issues. Despite the extreme nature of Tibet's oppression, the people's fight for freedom and independence from Chinese rule has largely been one of non-violence. This fact alone speaks volumes of the Tibetan's dedication to their exiled spiritual leader, The Dalai Lama, who has constantly maintained that this struggle must remain non-violent. This is particularly relevant in today's world of violent confrontations and growing international terrorism.

    Tibet's independence was shattered in 1949 when China embarked on a gradual policy of occupation and oppression. Gradually, the Chinese Government began systemically destroying Tibet's religious, cultural and environmental foundations. Until this time Tibet had been a fully independent sovereign state, which was recognized in 1914 by a signed border treaty between Britain, China and Tibet.

   In the last fifty plus years of occupation, many atrocities and violations of international law have been committed against Tibet and its people. This documentary, Tibet: Cry Of The Snow Lion, documents the history of this struggle with intelligence and compassion.

    Tom Peosay (Director/Producer/Cinematographer) and his wife, Sue (Producer/Co-Writer) made their first trip to Tibet in 1987 as backpackers. Their fascination and respect for the Tibetan people started a production that would last ten years, take nine journeys to the country and capture over three hundred hours of footage.

    A wide selection of rare and confronting archival film footage and still images were assembled for the film, much of which has not been seen on film prior.

    Some thirty-eight interviews are incorporated into the film, consisting of a large cross section of people, all offering a unique insight into the Tibetan issue. In instances where interviews required translation, the voices of American actors Edward Edwards, Ed Harris, Shirley Knight, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon were used instead of subtitles. Personally, I believe subtitles would have sufficed with the original voice, but I'm sure this was done to allow the film to gain a wider audience.

    The narration by Martin Sheen is concise and clear and does not overwhelm the documentary with excess. Much of the footage says much more than words ever could.

    The film also makes a conscious effort not to become a simple exercise in propaganda. Although it's difficult to document the history of this resistance without portraying the government of China in a negative light, the focus does stay justly on the Chinese Government and its policies rather than the people of China.

    Through the despair of years of barbaric and unjust treatment, Tibet: Cry Of The Snow Lion concludes with a high level of optimism and inspiration. This is a true testament to Tibet and its people in their ongoing struggle to regain freedom.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer for Tibet: Cry Of The Snow Lion is quite good.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is a full frame transfer.

    Most of the film was shot using Betacam SP, then colour corrected before being transferred to 35mm film.

    The level of sharpness in this transfer varies considerably due to the many different forms of source material used in the film. Some of this footage was of very ordinary quality, but is of course vital to the documentary. In general terms though, sharpness and clarity were excellent. Blacks and shadows were along similar lines, but were generally crisp and clean. Some minor grain was evident at times, especially in darker scenes.

    Colours also varied with the quality of the different source materials. The colour exhibited in all of the recent footage was simply outstanding, appearing natural and perfectly balanced.

    There were no MPEG artefacts present in the transfer. By and large, film-to-video artefacts weren't a significant issue. Film artefacts were more evident in old stock footage, but weren't problematic.

    Unfortunately there are no subtitles on this DVD.

    This is a single sided, dual layered disc. The change was well placed and could not be located.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is also very good..

    There are two audio tracks available on this DVD. They are English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). Both are excellent audio tracks.

    Dialogue quality and audio sync were both outstanding throughout.

    The original music score by Jeff Beal featuring Nawang Khechog accompanies the film beautifully. It is a mystical and inspiring score with a subtle Eastern influence.

    The surround channels were used nicely to immerse the viewer within the musical score in particular. There appeared to be very little in the way of directional effects used in this mix.

    The subwoofer was very active, adding to the music and bass elements of the audio track.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    The selection of extras is relevant and substantial.

    All menus are nicely themed around the film and have 16x9 enhancement. The main menu is static, but features some wonderful music from the film.

Bonus Scenes

    These scenes are from the many hours of left over footage that didn't make the final cut. All have audio and feature music. Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) audio.

Interviews   

    The questions asked in each of these interviews can be viewed in text form, then selected on screen to hear the response to the particular question directly. This function makes it easy to find specific information in each interview. A "play all" function is also available to view the entire interview. Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s) audio.

Original Trailer

    Tibet: Cry Of The Snow Lion (2:36)  Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s) audio.

Australian Tibet Council Trailer

    This is a trailer that may have been screened on television and in cinemas. It features many well known faces lending support to the Tibetan cause. (1:01)  Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s) audio.

DVD - ROM Extras   

    Both of these extras are PDFs and require Adobe Acrobat Reader to be able to view them.

Website Links

    Links to eight websites related to Tibet and the Tibetan cause.

Madman Propaganda

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 version of Tibet: Cry Of The Snow Lion appears to be very close to this all region version, with a couple of minor differences.

   The R1 version appears to have an additional ten minute bonus scene titled "Another Year In Exile" and a music video, "Long Life Chant". The R1 version misses out on the Australian Tibet Council Trailer, DVD-ROM extras, Website Links and Madman Trailers.

   Personally, I would stick with this all region version.

Summary

    Tibet: Cry Of The Snow Lion is an excellent documentary of the ongoing struggle of the Tibetan people to regain their independence. It is comprehensive, intelligent and moving in documenting the events of the past fifty years. The mix of confronting images in the film are perfectly balanced with visions of extreme and tranquil beauty.

    The video and audio transfers are very good.

    The selection of extras is worthy, relevant and interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Steve Crawford (Tip toe through my bio)
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDJVC XV-N412, using Component output
DisplayHitachi 106cm Plasma Display 42PD5000MA (1024x1024). This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationPanasonic SA-HE70 80W Dolby Digital and DTS
SpeakersFronts: Jensen SPX7 Rears: Jensen SPX4 Centre: Jensen SPX13 Subwoofer: Jensen SPX17

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