The Tibetans. A Life in Exile

The Tibetans. A Life in Exile /63mins / 2007/Documentary


After fifty years in exile the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans face a crisis. Can those in exile continue to preserve their culture as the modern world intrudes more and more? Or is this community in danger of losing its identity and disappearing forever? 

Various aspects of exile life are shown in this film including the role of the monasteries where monks and nuns are trying to preserve ancient traditions and cope with the influences of the modern world. 

The political and spiritual role of the Dalai Lama is crucial but what will happen to the culture after his death? What will be the long term effects on the culture as Tibetan youth faces a prolonged life in exile? Prominent members of the exile community talk honestly about these important issues and this film illuminates the challenges facing Tibetans in exile today.



Watch Trailer on this web site



Time Out Magazine, London, May 2008

Filmed 50 years after the Dalai Lama and thousands of followers were exiled to the Indian town of Dharamsala, 'The Tibetans. A Life in Exile' paints a sensitive picture of a delicate cultural identity threatened by the modern world. Through a series of illuminating interviews with community figures - including the Dalai Lama's brother, who fears that 'the wine will go sour' if children are not taught the importance of spiritual growth - director Bradstock makes tangible the self-imposed pressure on the exiled community to save Tibetan culture. The message, set against images of saffron robes and smiling children, is powerful: the new generation in this dying community are only equipped with the emotional and academic resources to survive in tourist-related business or in a free Tibet. (Pippa Eldridge)

Cast Credits

The Dalai Lama.

Tendzin Choegyal: The Dalai Lama’s youngest brother.

Rinchen Khando Choegyal: Former Minister of Education in the Exile Government and Director of The Tibetan Nuns Project.

Lhasang Tsering: Former Principal of the Tibetan Children’s Village (TCV) and former Youth Congress Leader and freedom fighter.

Loten Namling: Former TCV student, traditional musician and poet.

Lhakdor: Buddhist monk and the Dalai Lama’s former translator.

Kelsang Wangdo: Buddhist nun originally from Germany.

Tenzin Jangchup: Former TCV student.

Lobsang Tenzin: Buddhist monk.

Thupten Dorje: General Secretary of the the Tibetans Children’s Village

Thupten Samphel: Spokesperson for the Tibetan Government in Exile

Additional Cast Information

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Lhasang Tsering: 

Lhasang Tsering is the strongest and most passionate voice in the film. He has been dedicated to Tibetan freedom all his life. He is a former Tibetan resistance fighter and was the principal of The Tibetan Childrens Village as well as being the Youth Congress leader for some time. He has spoken out boldly about the need to maintain the goal of returning to a totally free and independent Tibet. He has openly criticised 'the Middle Way Policy' which seeks a compromise with the Chinese. He continues to stress that time is running out for all Tibetans. In Tibet Tibetans are becoming a minority as more and more Chinese settle there. In exile he feels there is a lack of clear direction and purpose and that this is accelerating the disintegration and dispersal of the culture. He has now pulled back from public life as he feels his efforts to fight for a free Tibet have achieved very little. He lives for his children and his last wish is to die in Tibet.

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Tendzin Choegyal: 

Tenzin Choegyal is the Dalai Lama’s youngest brother. He was brought up as a monk but at the age of 25 he left monastic life and became a lay person. He has worked for the Tibetan Government in Exile as a clerk, teacher, and soldier. He was also the Dalai Lama’s private secretary. In retirement he has rediscovered the deeper meaning of Buddhism and feels that the current monastic system is far from what it should be with some monks joining without having a true vocation. As Buddhism is such an integral part of Tibetan society he is concerned that the inappropriate behaviour by some monks is contributing the breakdown of the spiritual values and could have a serious effect on the reputation of the monastic system. He has a very sincere and honest approach to life and is not afraid to speak his mind on issues that are contentious. He has a clear vision about the whole Tibetan issue and a deep concern about the current situation.

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Rinchen Khando Choegyal. 

Rinchen Khando Cheogyal was born in Tibet and has lived in exile since the 1960’s. She is the wife of Tendzin Choegyal and has dedicated herself to the Tibetan cause. Travelling throughout the world, she has advocated the preservation of the Tibetan culture. She has helped exiled Tibetans by focusing on education, improving conditions for the elderly and the poor, and in the development of religious studies for women. While president of the The Tibetan Women's Association she founded the Tibetan Nuns Project which has built nunneries to provide education and take care of nuns who have escaped from Tibet. She also had two terms as the Minister of Education in the Exile Government. She is dedicated to giving practical help to the exile community and has a determination to do what she can in exile.

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Loten Namling: 

Loten Namling was born in India in the 1960’s after his parents escaped from Tibet. He was educated in the Tibetan Children's Village and at university in Delhi. As a child he was greatly influenced by traditional culture, especially music, and took up the Tibetan lute when he was fifteen. He is now a well known musician and poet who feels passionately about Tibetan culture. He believes he can help raise awareness of the Tibetan issue and share Tibet's rich culture with the world through his music. Since 1989 he has lived in Switzerland with his Swiss wife and their two children.


See Screening History of 'The Tibetans. A Life in Exile'



HH Derry with group

Robb, Meredith and Arran with Tibetan supporters in Derry, Northern Ireland presenting  a copy of the 'The Tibetans. A Life in Exile' to His Holiness the Dalai Lama


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