When the Dragon Swallowed the Sun
When the Dragon Swallowed the Sun (2012)

A groundbreaking documentary that examines these questions in a quest to understand why the world is still dealing with unsettled issues like the Tibetan cause and what can really be done to eradicate them. Seven years in the making, When… More

Directed By:
Rated: Unrated
Running Time:
Release Date: November 1, 2012
DVD Release Date: November 5, 2013
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Critic Score: 56% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Trevor Johnston
Time Out

A lengthy, demanding but worthwhile film ... admirably clear-headed about the deep splits within the Tibetan opposition.

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Peter Bradshaw

A valuable though flawed documentary about the international movement to free Tibet from Chinese rule ...

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Antonia Quirke
Financial Times

Much of what people say here is maddeningly phased out in favour of oozingly self-righteous music by Philip Glass, precisely what Tibet does not need: an arty score.

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Larushka Ivan-Zadeh
Metro (UK)

Tibet is doomed: that's the gloomy take-away from this lengthy, sporadically illuminating examination of the ongoing fallout from China's bloody 1950 occupation.

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Katherine McLaughlin

An extremely powerful documentary about Tibet's struggle for emancipation from China that's passionate in its plea and highly informative, although slightly bloated.

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Patrick Peters
Empire Magazine

The staggering landscapes of this mountainous land are captured beautifully as director Dirk Simon picks apart contradictions within Tibetan society. Philip Glass, Thom Yorke and Damien Rice provide terrific musical accompaniment.

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Guy Lodge
London Evening Standard

You needn't disagree with the film's cause to feel oppressed by its propagandistic approach - not to mention Philip Glass's relentlessly mournful score.

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Sophie Monks Kaufman
Little White Lies

Good access, good heart, bad craft.

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Simon Kinnear
Total Film

It's a fascinating study of the limits of protest, but also a disjointed film; each new witness shifts us further away from the central thread into increasingly dry political debate.

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