The documentary company Journeyman has just uploaded a 28-minute film called Miss Tibet that offers possibly the realest look at contemporary Tibet you’ll find anywhere. Mark Gould’s description on Journeyman’s website:
The Miss Tibet beauty pageant claims to give women a platform to highlight Tibetan issues, drawing attention to the the plight of the its people as well as the brilliance of the lifestyle and culture.
For Director Lobsang Wangyal, the event is not just a beauty pageant, but a political act, “celebrating our identity, our culture and our proud tradition”, whilst “implicitly asserting” Tibet as a nation and Tibetans as a people. But does the pageant really empower its women, or simply exploit them further?
The pageant director, photojournalist and self-described “small-town impresario” Lobsang Wangyal, is a charismatic character whom the filmmakers call the “Tibetan Hugh Hefner.” He is, on his own scale, equally controversia. At the end, he’s accused of fixing the results of the 2011 pageant (he does, after all, have 75 percent of the vote). Give this a watch — the first three and last three minutes, if nothing else — and then share your opinions below. Youku video for those in China after the jump.