In a follow-up to 2005’s Dreaming Lhasa, Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam return with a story of a young Tibetan woman grappling with living in exile, revealing a side of the refugee crisis we rarely get to see.
This bold new work from directors Ritu Sarin and Tenzing Sonam (TIFF '05's Dreaming Lhasa) is a tale of tragedy, retribution, and courage. Shifting between a present-day struggle to overcome trauma and flashbacks to a harrowing trek through the Himalayas, The Sweet Requiem offers an unforgettable reflection on the refugee crisis in a part of the world too rarely reported on.
Dolkar (Tenzin Dolker) is a 26-year-old living in exile in Delhi. An unexpected encounter with a figure from her past sets off a flurry of memories she had long repressed regarding the journey that brought her here. Dolkar was only eight when she and her father left their Tibetan home in a desperate attempt to start anew in a safer land. As memories of what became a disastrous expedition take shape, Dolkar resolves to confront the man she believes responsible.
The Sweet Requiem authentically captures the life-and-death stakes of the real-life escape across the border on which it was based, but the film's deeper insights emerge from the complex and shifting allegiances Dolkar must navigate in exile. Sarin and Sonam, who is the child of Tibetan refugees, draw on their knowledge and perspective to take us inside that experience. This latest work is their most powerful and compassionate yet, contending with the sinister shadows of the past while envisioning a better future.
CAMERON BAILEY (TIFF)