10 Questions for the Dalai Lama



Monterey Media

NEW YORK -- Who knew that one could procure an interview with the Dalai Lama simply by sending an e-mail?

That's exactly what Rick Ray, a filmmaker with no affiliation with any professional news organization, did for his documentary "10 Questions for the Dalai Lama." Part history lesson and part profile, the film presents a concise, cogent account of recent Tibetan history as well as an engrossing onscreen conversation with one of the world's great spiritual leaders.

The film necessarily takes a leisurely time getting to the interview portion because Ray was granted only 45 minutes of the Dalai Lama's time. The first half essentially is background information, with a lot of fascinating archival footage depicting the Chinese oppression, both military and cultural, of the Tibetan people.

You can feel the filmmaker's nervousness as he finally sits down for the long-awaited session -- he spent two months preparing in Dharamsala, where the Dalai Lama's monastery is located -- and some might cringe at his excessive citing of his resume and interjection of his thoughts into his queries.

While not a particularly distinguished journalistic achievement, the film is nonetheless engrossing thanks to the wisdom of its subject, who thoughtfully answers such questions posed as why the poor often seem happier than the rich and how to maintain a commitment to nonviolence in a violent world.