We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
"Windhorse" is a well-meaning but clunky film about a Tibetan family's life under Chinese occupation. Its heart is in the right place, and there's intrinsic interest in a film that was daringly shot partly on location in Tibet itself. But anyone interested enough in the cause of Tibet to attend the film is probably going to consider the story a simplistic melodrama.
The prologue begins in 1979, when children playing in the streets become witness to the killing of a relative by Chinese soldiers. We jump forward to 1998, and meet the children as grownups. Dolkar (Dadon) sings in a karaoke bar and dates a Chinese broadcast official named Duan-ping (Richard Chang). Her brother Dorjee (Jampa Kelsang), who hates the Chinese, spends most of his time drinking and playing pool. Their cousin Pema (played by a Tibetan actress whose name has been withheld from the film's credits) has become a nun.
Duan-ping, more of a dupe than a villain, realizes he can curry favor with his superiors by recruiting Dolkar to sing on the local TV station, which carries mostly propaganda. She rehearses songs in praise of Chairman Mao and invites her boyfriend home for tea; her grandmother spits in it in the kitchen before coming in to serve.
Meanwhile, Pema's nunnery is ill-treated by Chinese officials, who forbid anyone to possess a picture of the Dalai Lama--or even to think of him.