Hi guest, Register | Login | Contact Us
Welcome to Phayul.com - Our News Your Views
Wed 25, May 2016 06:50 AM (IST)
Search:     powered by Google
2016 ELECTION RESULT
 MENU
Home
News
Photo News
Opinions
Statements &
Press Releases

Book Reviews
Movie Reviews
Interviews
Travels
Health
Obituaries
News Discussions
News Archives
Download photos from Tibet
 Latest Stories
US court punishes Shugden supporter for assaulting senior citizen
NDPT holds 7th National Convention meeting
34th Kalachakra to be held from 3 - 13 Jan, 2017
Two earthquakes hit southern Tibet
“Stability Maintenance” campaign increased detention and prosecutions in Tibet: HRW
Dalai Lama blesses Thai monks' march to Leh for world peace
Dalai Lama expresses condolence over Sri Lanka calamity
Chinese government fabricates 488 million social media posts a year: study
Tibetan cause “doomed to failure,” : Chinese envoy to UK
Taiwan's first female President promises to cut dependence on China
 Latest Photo News
Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama leaves McLeod Ganj for Japan, May 6, 2016 Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
Lawmakers from the Czech conservative opposition TOP 09 and former foreign minister Karel Schwarzenberg (left) hang Tibetan national flags from the windows of the Chamber of Deputies to oppose Chinese President Xi Jingping's maiden visit to Czech Republic, March 29, 2016 Photo: ČTK Burian Michal
An elderly Tibetan prays before casting her ballot for the Tibetan elections 2016, Tsuglakhang, March 20, 2016. Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
more photos »
Advertisement
Under the Grey Veil - The Sun-Beaten Path
Phayul[Monday, October 31, 2011 21:58]
Directed by Sonthar Gyal*

Reviewed by Bhuchung D. Sonam

Sonthar Gyal’s (a young Tibetan filmmaker in Tibet) film The Sun-Beaten Path — which won 2011 Dragons and Tigers Awards at the Vancouver International Film Festival — is in many ways a trenchant criticism of today’s Tibet, where individual Tibetans battle against not only their tragic personal life but also against the overwhelming encroachment on their collective way of life and the wholesale eradication of their ancient culture. Gyal’s picture reminded me of actor-director Sean Penn’s Hollywood film Into the Wild, which combines two popular genres – the road trip and the struggle of man versus nature. It tells to tell about Chris McCandless, a disillusioned young man who discards his comfortable life so he can make his way into the wilderness of Alaska in search of untamed solitude.

Gyal’s film, however, tells the fate of a grieving and guilt-ridden young farmer on his way back from a pilgrimage to Lhasa after he had killed his mother in a tragic road accident. Nyima, the protagonist, having grown up under a new and sterilized social system, isn’t sufficiently rooted in his culture to give him the strength and fortitude to bear the heartbreaking events he’s facing. This culture is personified in the film by an old man Nyima encounters on the way; the stranger’s funny yet wisdom-laden stories gradually salve his emotional pain. The old man’s genuine compassion, and insistence on helping, finally enables Nyima to return home along the same dirt road where his small tractor killed his mother.

The young Tibetan director’s brilliance lies in locating the film on the harsh, barren and unforgiving landscape cut across by an endless road. The inexorable backdrop magnifies Nyima’s guilt and self-reproach by manifold. The sparse dialogue further enhances the guilt and the sorrow. The dishevelled, stone-faced loner — exceptionally acted by Yeshi Lhadruk — who walks along tarred road, rejects every offer of free ride by the fast-travelling vehicles. “Buses travel too fast,” he says to the old man. “I forget my troubles when I walk.”

Perhaps there's something seductive about the idea of turning one's back on civilization and all its baggage, especially in a world that is fast turning into a culvert, where everyone chases their dreams driven by the endless run for money and yet more money. In this sense, Sean Penn’s Into the Wild is an incisive criticism of the contemporary world — its endless rat race, complicated system and fast pace — which drives peace, fulfilment and inner satisfaction to the furthest corners of people’s lives. In the same way, The Sun Beaten Path subtly focuses on a culture where a stranger (in this case, the old man) goes out of his way to help others (Nyima, in the film) as opposed to utter disregard for fellow human beings as happened in Guangzhou in China recently. As many as eighteen people ignored a two-year-old child being crushed by two cars in a hit-and-run case. The kid later died in the hospital.

Without using any clichés and stereotypical images of Tibet, which could necessarily mean monks and monasteries, prayer-flags and prayer wheels or forever-smiling farmers and green pastures, Gyal has clearly managed to get the message of Tibet today across.

Lines of trucks endlessly pass by on the sun-beaten metalled road, but they do not have the power to ease Nyima’s inner problems. When everything turns upside down — and the world becomes an endless grey veil — the only salvation comes from the ancient wisdom that flows from the old man’s mouth.
This, perhaps, is the strongest message that anyone can convey in any creative work. Sonthar Gyal has done this perfectly without overstating or undermining anything.

---
* The Sun-Beaten Path directed by Sonthar Gyal was premiered on 30 October 2011 at the Tibet Film Festival jointly organized by Swiss-based Filming for Tibet and the India Chapter of the Students for a Free Tibet.

Bhuchung D. Sonam can be reached at bhuchungdsonam@gmail.com
Print Send Bookmark and Share
  Readers' Comments »
Be the first to comment on this article

 More..
“The One Who Escaped” : Review of Pema Tseden's ‘Tharlo’
RESURRECTING A LOST HOMELAND - by J. Norbu
WHEN HARI GOT MARRIED- A film review
A Girl from China
-DECODING ‘DRAPCHI’- by Tenzin Tsundue
ARBITRAGE- A film review by Tashi Wangchuk
DRAPCHI - Exclusive Review by Utpal Borpujari
“Kyema” - A FILM REVIEW
Under the Grey Veil - The Sun-Beaten Path
OLD DOG (Khyi rgan)
Advertisement
Advertisement
Tibet Fest 7
Photo Galleries
Advertisement
Phayul.com does not endorse the advertisements placed on the site. It does not have any control over the google ads. Please send the URL of the ads if found objectionable to editor@phayul.com
Copyright © 2004-2016 Phayul.com   feedback | advertise | contact us
Powered by Lateng Online
Advertisement