A Stranger in my Native Land

Director: Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam
English (subtitled), 32 min, 1998, UK
A poignant and personal account of exiled Tibetan filmmaker Tenzing Sonam's first-ever visit to his homeland.
A Stranger in my Native Land
A still from A Stranger in my Native Land

Nearly four decades after his parents left Tibet to come into exile in India, Tenzing Sonam went back to visit his ancestral homeland, now under Chinese rule. From the far reaches of Amdo Province, where Tibetans have lost their language, to Lhasa, the heart of the country, the film captures his meetings with long-lost relatives and conveys a sense of the desperation of Tibet as a country under occupation.

Producer: Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam
Director: Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam
Camera: Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam
Editing: Tenzing Sonam
Music: Techung
Select Screenings:
  • Film South Asia, Kathmandu, Nepal, 1999
  • Margaret Mead Film and Video Festival, New York, 1997
  • NYANA, New York
  • National Film Theatre, London
  • Kino Xenix, Zurich
  • Caligari FilmBuehne, Wiesbaden
  • Kino in der Brotfabrik, Bonn
  • Minnesota Film Center, Minneapolis
  • Cinema City, Norwich
  • India International Centre, New Delhi
About the Director:

Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam are an Indian-Tibetan filmmaking team based in Dharamshala, India. They worked as independent filmmakers in San Francisco and London before moving back to India.

Working through their film company, White Crane Films, they have produced and directed several documentaries, mostly focusing on Tibet-related subjects. These include: The Reincarnation of Khensur Rinpoche (1991), The Trials of Telo Rinpoche (1993), and The Shadow Circus: The CIA in Tibet (1998). In 2005, they completed Dreaming Lhasa, a dramatic feature film executive produced by Jeremy Thomas, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival.

They have also worked on video installations, including Some Questions on the Nature of Your Existence (2007), which was shown at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo and the 2010 Busan Biennale.

Their feature documentary, The Sun Behind the Clouds: Tibet’s Struggle for Freedom (2009), won several awards including the Vaclav Havel Award at the One World Film Festival in Prague. When Hari Got Married is their most recent film. They are also directors of the Dharamshala International Film Festival.

Posted by Magic Lantern Movies LLP on February 2, 2014
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