Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 21:45


Adrian Cowell


Friday 01/07/2016


Original version with simultaneous translation through headphones


Film Notes

In May 1964, British journalist George Patterson – who had lived in Eastern Tibet before the Chinese invasion – bluffed his way into the remote Tsum valley in northern Nepal where a small detachment of the guerrilla force was based. Patterson was accompanied by film crew director Adrian Cowell and cameraman Chris Menges. The three-man film team traveled with the guerrillas over a 20,000 foot pass into Tibet and captured dramatic footage of the subsequent attack on a Chinese military convoy. The CIA was furious at this lapse in security and immediately sent orders to intercept Patterson and his team before they could leave Nepal and relieve them of their film footage at any cost. But Patterson was one step ahead and both his team and their precious footage were able to escape safely from Nepal.
After causing much controversy on British television in 1966, Raid into Tibet fell out of circulation, due to, according to Cowell, U.S. and Chinese government pressure. Thereafter, the film had been left almost forgotten in Cowell’s basement for more than 40 years.
In 2010, I, as founder of the New York-based Tibet Film Archive, began an initiative to restore Adrian Cowell’s 16mm film, Raid into Tibet. This documentary contains the only known footage of Tibetan guerrilla fighters in actual combat against the Chinese military, representing an invaluable testament to the true history of the events that unfolded a half century ago.

Tenzin Phuntsog

Cast and Credits

F.: Chris Menges. Prod.: George Patterson. DCP. D.: 28’. Bn.


Film Notes

In 1964, when Adrian Cowell, Chris Menges and George Patterson embarked on their secret film expedition to film Tibetan guerrilla fighters they were originally commissioned to make another film Buddhism in Tibet. The three young men used this as their cover story granting them access into the remote Mustang Region of Nepal. High in the mountains they departed from the script and made Raid into Tibet incognito. Buddhism in Tibet explores Mahayana Bodhisattva Buddhism in the context of the 1959 revolt inside Tibet and among Tibetan refugees in northern Nepal. The film features rare footage of the 14th Dalai Lama as a young man five years after the exodus from Tibet in his exiled home in Dharamsala, India, as well as Tibetan refugees in Katmandu, Nepal. The film illustrates the violent strains that are appearing within Tibet Buddhism as it tries to adapt to a modern environment.
This is the first time that Raid into Tibet and Buddhism in Tibet are screened together in the light of this new historical information.

Tenzin Phuntsog

Cast and Credits

F.: Chris Menges. Int.: Dalai Lama XIV. DCP. D.: 25’. Bn.