Out of Tibet

"Excellent"

Out of Tibet Review


Enveloped in the melancholic, strangely tender accordion music, the documentary Out of Tibet tells an incredible story of two people brought together by the emotional and geographical trajectory of fate. The opening shot reveals a man and a woman lying down at the foot of a mountain, surrounded by nothing but hilly wilderness. "Are you happy now," the woman asks. "I am happy," the men responds, "now that I am married to you and share my life with a woman." This richly textured, intelligent documentary/drama is, essentially, a story about the human ability to find the most inexplicable echo in another person's life and make it its own.

First, the backstory. In India, two people met: Sandra and Gelenk. Gelenk was a reclusive Tibetan monk who fought to free Tibet from Chinese oppression, a political refugee regarded among his monk fellows to be the sixth reincarnation of a lama. He escaped the marching and brutal inhuman discipline of Mao's China to find peace in Buddhist meditation in India. When he met Sandra, he saw only a crazy and unhappy Westerner in her, one of those who sought adventure in the exotic impenetrable East.

Despite their initial and mutual dislike, the relationship between them flourishes; they stay together, have a child named Tara. For Gelenk, to marry Sandra and move to Germany with her would mean giving up his vows as a monk and losing reincarnation "status." Nevertheless, it happens, and his strikingly unusual yellow Buddhist robe becomes a regular bright spot on one busy corner in Berlin.

In Berlin, they lead a very simple life: Gelenk practically peddles on the street and teaches local punks and eccentrics to meditate. Sandra continues her unusual musical performances and discards the idea of having a regular, secure job.

The story of Sandra's search for herself is psychologically more complex and, unequivocally, more unusual. Composed and disarmingly charming, she recollects the time of her adolescence -- an unhappy teenager in suburban German town. Mentally erratic, she escaped her home at the age of 14 and went to Berlin, where she would get high to escape the emptiness eating her inside. When not suicidal, she led her primal energy out in wild accordion performances with other sub-culture musicians. But finally, Sandra gets a grip on her life and decides to figure out what it is that she wants.

Ultimately, the lives of these two people and the chronicle of their daily lives, told with poetic precision and deep respect, are more than worth the price of admission.

Aka Jenseits von Tibet - Eine Liebe zwischen den Welten. Screening as part of San Francisco's 2001 Berlin & Beyond Festival.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 10th May 2001

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Solveig Klaßen

Producer: Solveig Klaßen

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