Last night on TV – Merlin and Tibet

Merlin is still running on ABC3 weekdays at 7.30. It can’t have far to go as Arthur is now king. See also Wikipedia.


Colin Morgan as Merlin – he’s very good

I had suspected that the spells generally are in Old English, a language I actually studied at Sydney University long ago. Ironic really, given that the historical Arthur – to the degree there really was one – led the charge against the Old English speaking Anglo-Saxons.  But yes, the spells were apparently written by Dr Mark Faulkner of the University of Sheffield.

Later came one of those surprises NITV can spring: a Tibetan movie.


Dreaming Lhasa (2005) is not a movie I had heard of before.

Karma, a Tibetan filmmaker from New York, goes to Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama’s exile headquarters in northern India, to make a documentary about former political prisoners who have escaped from Tibet. She wants to reconnect with her roots but is also escaping a deteriorating relationship back home.

One of Karma’s interviewees is Dhondup, an enigmatic ex-monk who has just escaped from Tibet. He confides in her that his real reason for coming to India is to fulfil his dying mother’s last wish, to deliver a charm box to a long-missing resistance fighter. Karma finds herself unwittingly falling in love with Dhondup even as she is sucked into the passion of his quest, which becomes a journey into Tibet’s fractured past and a voyage of self-discovery.

Rotten Tomatoes finds most critics were unimpressed, but there were exceptions; for example: “The fictional story incorporates harrowing documentary testimony from former Tibetan political prisoners, but essentially this is a hopeful look at a resilient people keeping their traditions alive as they move into the digital age.”  I was certainly interested, and yes some of that filmed testimony was harrowing indeed.  See also IMBbWikipedia says of the production:

In the absence of any kind of a film industry among the exile Tibetan community, the film was shot using a cast almost entirely made up of non-professionals. Only Jampa Kalsang, who plays Dhondup, had some prior acting experience. The rest of the cast was chosen through a casting call sent out on Tibet-related websites, and through an auditioning process in Dharamsala, India, where much of the film was shot. Tenzin Chokyi Gyatso, who plays Karma, normally works in a bank in suburban Washington DC, while Tenzin Jigme, the third main character in the film, is a real-life musician and a member of the popular Tibetan refugee rock band, JJI Exile Brothers. The technical crew consisted mainly of Indian professionals, while an enthusiastic bunch of Tibetans provided them with backup and support.

Did I miss much on QandA?