Pema Tseden’s Transnational Cinema: Screening a Buddhist Landscape of Tibet

  • Author(s): Dan Smyer Yu Yu
  • When: 2014-03
  • Where: Contemporary Buddhism
  • The emergence of independent Tibetan filmmakers in China only began in the twenty-first century; however, their productions are already being premiered and are winning awards at international film festivals. In their productions the cinematic images of Tibetan cultural landscapes are markedly different from their Western and Chinese counterparts. Both the verisimilitude and believability of their scenes and characters point to the inextricability of Tibetan Buddhism from Tibetan cultural identity. Using a case study of the films of Pema Tseden, the leading Tibetan indie filmmaker in China, this article illustrates the transnational nature of his filmmaking. At the same time it discusses how he cinematically depicts Tibetan Buddhist values being destabilized by the forces of globalization and modernization in the context of contemporary China.

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