Teenage brother and sister Gyembo and Tashi belong to a family that has cared for a Buddhist temple in the Bhutanese mountains for more than a thousand years. With the family legacy weighing heavily on his shoulders, Gyembo is torn between his own aspirations and his father’s wish that he commit to monasticism. Meanwhile, Tashi struggles to find her way as an athletic girl in a culture with rigid views of gender. The siblings must rely on each other as they—and the country they call home—navigate painful questions of identity and modernity in a globalizing world.
The story of Tibetan Buddhism’s emergence in the West cannot be told without acknowledging the life of the late Chöje Akong Tulku Rinpoche (1939–2013). In 1959, when tensions between China and Tibet came to a head, 19-year-old Akong Rinpoche, his close friend Chögyam Trungpa, and 200 other Tibetans embarked on foot on a dangerous journey to northern India. With historical footage—including scenes from this 10-month trek across the Himalayas—and recent interviews, this documentary celebrates Akong Rinpoche’s lifelong commitment to share the Buddhist teachings with many thousands around the world.
In October 1976, thousands of student activists at Thammasat University in Bangkok were attacked by Thai state forces while protesting the return of a former military dictator. By the Time It Gets Dark examines this brutal incident by mixing flashbacks, interviews with former demonstrators, and restaged events. The narrative breaks down as the film progresses, presenting a fragmented, multilayered story that underscores the capricious nature of memory.
Inspired by the history of the Dalits, or “untouchables,” in India, János Orsós, a schoolteacher and Buddhist of Romani descent, founded a secondary school in a village in eastern Hungary to help Romani teenagers—whose people have been victims of racist stereotyping and violence for centuries—attend universities.
During World War II, more than 200,000 young women in Korea, China, the Philippines, and Indonesia were kidnapped and coerced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army. Some 70 years later, three “grandmothers” summon the courage to tell their stories despite decades of silence and shame.
Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing turns to the war-torn northeastern border of Myanmar in Ta’ang, a documentary that follows villagers of the Ta’ang ethnic minority as they flee to China, escaping an escalating civil war. In two refugee camps, some of the displaced attempt to create reasonably safe living conditions; others go deeper into China searching for work in sugarcane fields. Ta’ang captures the constant insecurity, instability, and disorientation that come with life as a refugee as well as the complexities—and emotional toll—of the choices Ta’ang families face.