Free Tibet

Free Tibet

5.0 1
Director: Sarah Pirozek

Cast: Sarah Pirozek, The Beastie Boys, Richie Havens, Yoko Ono

     
 
As the title implies, Free Tibet: The Motion Picture is more of a documentary about the first Tibetan Freedom Concert -- its origins, its cause, and the artists that supported it -- than a film of the concert itself. Though it's admirable to put the motives behind the show first, it also makes watching the film somewhat frustrating: Some of the concert's best

Overview

As the title implies, Free Tibet: The Motion Picture is more of a documentary about the first Tibetan Freedom Concert -- its origins, its cause, and the artists that supported it -- than a film of the concert itself. Though it's admirable to put the motives behind the show first, it also makes watching the film somewhat frustrating: Some of the concert's best performances, such as Cibo Matto's "Birthday Cake" and Pavement's "Give It A Day," are interrupted in favor of interviews with concertgoers, other artists, the show's promoters and people from the Milarepa fund. This emphasis on the show's admittedly noble causes -- fundraising to support the Tibetan people in their nonviolent struggle against China for example -- wouldn't be so distracting if the film were better organized. The parts of Free Tibet that document how horribly the Tibetan people have suffered under China's oppression and how the Milarepa Fund came to be are informative and often moving in their own right, and the concert excerpts range from good to great, but they just don't blend well together. For those looking for political information, the Milarepa Fund website www.milarepa.org states the organization's motives and actions more clearly. As for the music, Beck's bluesy, impassioned performance over the film's opening credits and Bjork's ravishing finale of "Hyperballad" bookend so-so outings from the Foo Fighters, A Tribe Called Quest, Sonic Youth, and Rage Against the Machine. The Smashing Pumpkins' incendiary "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" and John Lee Hooker's performance are two more of Free Tibet's standout moments, while Milarepa Fund founders the Beastie Boys turn in a surprisingly weak rendition of "Sabotage." The film's fair-to-middling sound quality also comes as a disappointing surprise, reaffirming that Free Tibet is more about the causes behind the concert than the music performed at it. Still, Free Tibet is an interesting and worthwhile chronicle of one of the mid-'90s most successful benefit concerts, even if it doesn't deliver enough music for fans of the artists represented here. The DVD also includes a fun but somewhat in-jokey commentary with executive producer/Beastie Boy Adam Yauch and cinematographers Spike Jonze and Evan Bernard, a video of the Beastie's performance of "Root Down" from the concert, a brief explanation of what the Milarepa Fund is and how it got its name, and further information on the Tibetan plight. Though the film's wealth of facts and music could have been better organized, socially conscious music fans may still want to see what Free Tibet has to offer.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Doree Shafrir
In June 1996, 20 of the leading performers in alternative music gathered in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park for the Tibetan Freedom Concert, a benefit show that has since become an annual, global event. The show's de facto headliners, the Beastie Boys, organized the concert to benefit the Milarepa Fund, a charity established by the group in 1994 to help oppressed Tibetans under Chinese rule. Free Tibet, now available on DVD, is a moving and entertaining documentary based on this first show, enhanced by concert footage from a subsequent New York show, plus interviews with audience members and the performers. The lineup reads like an alt-rock all-star team (Beck, Björk, Sonic Youth, Pavement, the Fugees, and Rage Against the Machine, to name a few) and while their sets are truncated in this 88-minute film, each displays a rockin', heartfelt sense of purpose. The DVD's Dolby sound packs sufficient punch and it includes two commentaries -- one by Spike Jonze (Being John Malkovich), one of the film's photography directors, and Beastie Boy-Milarepa Fund founder Adam Yauch. DVD viewers get an additional Beastie Boys' number, "Root Down," recorded at the New York concert. More than a memorable musical documentary, Free Tibet is a rare, successful confluence of decent music and noble cause.

Product Details

Release Date:
08/29/2000
UPC:
0660200302023
Original Release:
1998
Rating:
NR
Source:
Palm Pictures / Umvd
Presentation:
[Full Frame]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital, stereo]
Time:
1:28:00
Sales rank:
72,589

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Beastie Boys Actor
Richie Havens Actor
Yoko Ono Actor
Red Hot Chili Peppers Actor
La Soul Actor
Tribe Called Quest Actor
John Lee Hooker Actor
Sonic Youth Actor
Pavement Actor
Björk Actor
Foo Fighters Actor
Fugees Actor
Biz Markie Actor
Rage Against the Machine Actor
Smashing Pumpkins Actor

Technical Credits
Sarah Pirozek Director
Evan Bernard Cinematographer
Roman Coppola Cinematographer
Jay Faires Executive Producer
Spike Jonze Cinematographer
Maria Ma Producer
Robert Nassau Editor
Adam Yauch Executive Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
0. Scene Access
1. Opening Credits [4:33]
2. Tibetan Culture [5:10]
3. Save a Nation [3:57]
4. Ongoing Torture [5:24]
5. Foo Fighters [4:36]
6. De La Soul [6:20]
7. Fugees [3:42]
8. Beastie Boys [4:09]
9. John Lee Hooker [2:15]
10. Cibo Mato [6:06]
11. Pavement [4:32]
12. The Smashing Pumpkins [5:12]
13. Biz Markie [5:02]
14. Sonic Youth [5:25]
15. A Tribe Called Quest [4:25]
16. Rage Against the Machine [6:41]
17. Bjork [5:09]
18. Signal of Gratitude [5:41]

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Free Tibet 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago