press reactions



eric mink/ny daily news
"Tonight's FRONTLINE ...walks a fine line between real news and entertainment--and never loses its balance. It is, in fact, the perfect approach for a documentary examining America's long fascination with Tibet, with a special emphasis on its treatment in Hollywood films and by Hollywood stars.

Those connections could not be more timely, given the current intersection of certain political and entertainment realities."

"And tonight's one-hour documentary raises the possibility that the power of Hollywood's people and products to use images to shape attitudes may well be a force that politicians and policy makers cannot afford to dismiss or ignore. Clearly, as the film demonstrates, the Chinese government takes the matter of images--be they Hollywood movies or photos of the Dalai Lama--very seriously, indeed."



al brumley/arizona republic
"The PBS series FRONTLINE lives up to its name today with a perfectly timed, fascinating look at the pop-culture phenomenon that is Tibet.

On the night before the first U.S.--China summit since Tiananmen Square--and just 18 days since the opening of Seven Years In Tibet --FRONTLINE examines why Hollywood has become so enamored of the Dalai Lama, juxtaposes the two cultures and provides a decent history of Tibet, all in about 52 minutes.

And while not totally without skepticism, Dreams of Tibet also doesn't cheap-shot outspoken stars such as Richard Gere who have taken up the cause of the Dalai Lama, in exile since a 1959 rebellion."

"...Dreams of Tibet never examines Tibet's old government; viewers are left to assume it was working well and honorably. All Schell says of it is that 'Tibetans defended their old system, arguing that they had never had a history of mass famine and rebellion.'"



walter goodman/new york times
"Although tonight's offering from FRONTLINE seems at times to be a cross between a Hollywood promo and travelogue, it finally gets beyond the picturesque and asks: Are American companies with an eye to the huge Chinese market frightened of speaking out about China's restrictions on freedom in general, and in particular on what this program views as its destruction of Tibetan society?"

"...While making little effort to sort out the complexities of Chinese-United States relations, "Dreams of Tibet is implicitly critical of the Clinton Administration, which came into office breathing fire about China's human rights deficiencies but has since 'delinked' trade policy and human rights principles. That, Mr. Schell concludes, has reduced the Tibetan exiles to putting their faith in the generosity of entertainers and the power of the movies."



john carman/san francisco chronicle
"Thoughtfully timed for Chinese leader Jiang Zemin's scheduled White House visit today, a FRONTLINE documentary delves into the Chinese destruction of Tibetan culture, and Chinese efforts to stifle Hollywood films sympathetic to the Tibetan cause."

"Disney is keenly interested in expanding into China and hopes to build a theme park in Shanghai. Perhaps tellingly, FRONTLINE shows a clip from Charlie Rose's PBS interview show in which Disney chairman Michael Eisner haltingly tells Rose that as a company, Disney takes no position on human-rights.

It's a chilling moment in a program that's really a microcosmic glimpse of a wider issue--the willingness of U.S. corporations, and now the Clinton administration, to 'de-link' human rights from economic dealings with China. If Tiananmen Square can be overlooked, how can Tibet be more than a sentimental morsel in the scheme of multinational business?"



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