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Hollywood Films Receive Cold Shoulder in Tibet


"Though Hollywood films can be seen in Tibet, it has no market in Lhasa," said Pagbal Qoizin, manager of the Tibet Regional Film Company.

Since Tibet opened its door to the outside world two decades ago, foreign culture has made its way into the region. Tibet has no bias toward foreign films, but local residents have showed little enthusiasm for Hollywood films, he said.

A great number of Hollywood films have been shown at the three cinemas in Lhasa, the regional capital. But there were few spectators, despite big advertisements, Pagbal Qoizin said.

When the American film Mission Impossible premiered at the Lhasa Cinema, there were only two spectators. Tibet was among the first batch of Chinese cities to show Saving Private Ryan. However, there were less than 30 viewers for each show, he added.

Zhoima Cering, a female primary school teacher, said, "There are too many scenes of violence in the American films I have seen. They are contradictory with the traditional concept of Tibet."

Panjue, a Tibetan scholar who had lived in the United States for almost a decade, said he felt the American films seeks stimulation and perfection at the expense of exploration of people's mental world.

"I have seen a number of Hollywood films while I stayed in the United States. They are far from the reality of the Tibet. Though people in the film clad in the Tibetan robe and having Tibetan food, the plots bear a distinct political nature," he said.

Yangzhoin said, "I don't understand why all heroes who save other countries in the world are the Americans."

Pagbal Qoizin attributed the phenomenon to cultural differences. In Tibet, a father can't watch the scene of affectionate contacts between men and women together with his daughter, neither does the mother and her son. In the United States, children can call their parents by their first name, which is very disrespectful in the eyes of Tibetans.

Science fiction films, which cost Hollywood huge sums of money, are also unpopular in Tibet.

Gesang, a 25-year-old man, said, "I don't like fantastic films, neither do my neighbors."

Many Tibetans prefer Indian films because Tibet shares similar customs with India.

Nevertheless, not all the American films are unpopular. Gladiator and Brave Heart are well received, which reminded Tibetans of King Gesser, a Tibetan legendary hero.

At present, the majority of cinema-goers range between 20 and 40 years old.

(Xinhua 04/27/2001)

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