Andrew Mobbs (mobbsy) wrote,
Andrew Mobbs

Yesterday I watched Tibet: Cry of the Snow Lion and Clean.

This is a very traditional-style American documentary, but a good example of the genre. The main focus is the socio-political situation and the case for an independent Tibet. There are some attempts to put the Chinese side, but these are quickly dismissed. There's a horrifying account of continuing Chinese human rights abuses in Tibet, and destruction of historic monasteries during the Cultural Revolution.

One point that isn't addressed is the "then what?" question, should Tibet become free, Pandora's Box has been opened, the region is no longer inaccessible and can't go back to living in isolation.

Clean is one of those character-driven international films that I enjoy so much. The story follows Emily Wang (Cheung) putting her life together after her rock-star partner overdoses on heroin. There's a great performance from Cheung, who won the Best Actress prize at Cannes for the rôle. Nick Nolte is also very good as Albrecht Hauser, the father of the dead rock-star, who has to balance many difficult choices about other people's lives.

The film starts in quite depressing style; gritty depths of drug abuse, prison and separation of mother and child. However, from there on, it's largely an intelligent feel-good movie, as Cheung's character shows great strength in building a life, but is fallible and needs the support of the forgiving Hauser. The film is never over sentimental, which is what makes it work for me. Every time things go right for the characters, you feel it's a hard-won victory against fate, not inevitable force of narrative.

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