Tibetan Portraits

Berit Madsen
37 minutes


About 18,000 Tibetans live in exile in Kathmandu, Nepal. Most of them know of Tibet only from their parents stories.

I Live in the White Monastery, 17 min. My Father's Prayer Room, 8 min. The Day of Hundred Thousand Lamps, 11 min. Tibetan Portraits a series of three films, each focusing on the individual experience of young Tibetan exiles. I live in the White Monastery is the portrait of a 12-year old monk, who tells the story of his escape from Tibet and reflects on his life at the monastery. The story of My Father's Prayer Room features an 18-year old girl, who lives in a boarding school in India. She returns to Kathmandu to celebrate the Tibetan New Year together with her family, and explains the daily Tibetan religious rituals.

The Day of Hundred Thousand Lamps brings to light the preparations for the celebration of an important Tibetan Buddhist God. 100,000 butterlamps must be placed throughout the stupa, which is the monument housing Buddhist relics. The children, who distribute these lamps, clearly take great pride in their work. Beyond the individual experiences, the three portraits tell a story about exile, Tibetan identity, and human nature.

Berit Madsen