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MOVIE REVIEW

`Vajra' provides an inside look at Tibet

September 08, 2006|Carina Chocano | Times Staff Writer

The third installment in documentarian John Bush's "Yatra Trilogy," "Vajra Sky Over Tibet" is a filmed pilgrimage through Tibet's religious history and current religious community, as well as a travelogue of its fairy-tale architecture and breathtaking landscapes.

Shot without permission of the Chinese authorities, the film does not include interviews with any Tibetans "for fear of reprisals." Instead, the film is narrated by Tenzin L. Choegyal, a nephew of the Dalai Lama, and Dadon, a Tibetan singer in exile, who also provides the score.

Bush allots equal time to the principles of Tibetan Buddhism, its deities, temples and shrines, and to the history of Chinese religious oppression of Tibet.

With the liberalization policies of the 1980s, these tactics have become less repressive and more insidious.

Temples once converted to slaughterhouses and pigsties have now been carefully restored as part of China's cultural patrimony, and China's part in the selection of the next Dalai Lama is explored.

Throughout it, the quiet but staunch resistance of the Tibetans is evident. A well-photographed inside look at a fascinating culture and its people.

carina.chocano@latimes.com

*

`Vajra Sky Over Tibet'

MPAA rating: Not rated

Times guidelines: Suitable for all audiences

A Direct Pictures release. Director-producer-cinematographer John Bush. Editor Donal O Ceilleachair. Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes.

Exclusively Laemmle's One Colorado Cinemas, 42 Miller Alley (inside plaza, Fair Oaks at Union Avenue), Pasadena (626) 744-1224; Landmark's Westside Pavilion Cinemas, 10800 Pico Blvd. (310) 281-8223.

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