A beautifully shot and fascinating documentary about the Tibetan New Year celebrations carried out by the monks at the Bonpo monastery, founded high in the mountains of Northern India in 1966, a few years after the Bonpos had fled the Chinese Red Army. Wisely, Jerstad never attempts to probe the complexities of the Bonpos' religious beliefs, although the significance of the monks' ritualised actions is briefly explained at every turn. What most impresses is the way Jerstad allows the music, dance, chants, costumes and masks to speak for themselves, using landscape, movement, colour and sound to convey a feeling of liberation and rejuvenation. And the Bonpos' Abbot - articulate, open, and evidently a man of great compassion ('Not all the monks have to take the ceremony that seriously') - is great.
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