The Sweet Requiem which opens today at the IFC center is not an easy film to watch but an important one to see. It speaks to the universality of being forced to flee from one's homeland and rebuilding ones cultural heritage elsewhere. It speaks to being forced to make life and death decisions which come at the highest cost, and it speaks to becoming the lion or to be eaten by one. No matter what one's views are we are living in an uncompromising world of forced immigration for many people who have had absolutely no elective choice in their future. For the directing team Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam, they are successful at making that clear. For us, the viewers, we are moved by the tragedy of Tibetans, many of whom make the long, treacherous trek to India through the snow-covered mountains of the Himalayas while being tracked by Chinese mercenaries.
For Dolkar (Tenzin Dolker) who sets out with her father as a little girl, leaving her adoring and broken-hearted mother behind, she is haunted by the memories of her dangerous and heart-rending trajectory From Tibet to India and reminded regularly by the self-conflagrations of the pacifists, Buddhist Tibetans in response to the Chinese takeover of their country. Her pivotal moment comes when she has to face the past as the Tibetan guide, Gompo (Jampa Kalsang Tamang), resurfaces many years later which causes both characters to confront the buried artifacts of their life and karma which defines them.
The Sweet Requiem
Not rated. In Tibetan, with English subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 31 minutes.
Directors:Ritu Sarin, Tenzing Sonam
Writer: Tenzing Sonam
Stars: Tenzin Dolker, Jampa Kalsang Tamang, Tashi Choedon, Tenzin Dechen, Nyima Dhondup
Running Time: 1h 31m