The Great Mother

Using the mother of the current Dalai Lama as a biographical backdrop to examine both the role of mothers in Tibetan culture and, more generally, the role of mothers in all of human development, this documentary relies more on anecdotal accounts than archival footage and concrete history. There is an overview of the 1959 Tibetan uprising, which forced His Holiness and his family into exile, used as an example of how this mother of 16 (only seven survived childhood) used compassion and a quiet inner strength to influence her family. Of course, the larger message is that mothers worldwide do the same thing in less-extraordinary circumstances. The film is lacking a strong impact—probably stemming from the fact that it is part of a larger documentary series meant to be taken as a whole—but it is fairly instructive.

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