people and cultures – inspiring journeys
sharing meaningful discoveries in Asia

Films and Music



Ring of Fire: An Indonesian Odyssey:   A Four Part Series
Lawrence and Lorne Blair-
two English brothers 10-year adventures throughout the archipelago during the 70s and 80s..
DVD does not seem to be available but see below:
Part 1  Spice Island Saga- 
sailing on a Bugis Boat retracing spice routes in search of Birds of Paradise. 
Love this episode:
Hope the following 3 episodes may become available again!

Bumi Manusia  ( This Earth of Mankind )
based on the novel of Pramoedya Ananta Toer– the first of his epic quartet of books.
The story is set at the end of the Dutch colonial rule and was written while Pramoedya was imprisoned on the political island prison of Buru in eastern Indonesia

The central character and the narrator of the film is a Javanese boy, Minke, who is fortunate to attend an elite Dutch school because he is a descendant of Javanese royalty. Minke faces a complex and dangerous world when he meets Nyai Ontosoroh, a njai or concubine of a Dutch man. Minke’s life becomes more dangerous when he falls in love with Annelies, the beautiful Indo daughter of Nyai Ontosoroh.
Find this powerful film on Netflix:

The story of the Indonesian heroine named Kartini, during the early 1900s, when Indonesia was still a colony of the Netherlands.  Restrained by custom, Kartini lived in seclusion but realized that education could set all Indonesian women free-   beautifully played by Dian Sastrowardoyo

Look for the Full Film on Netflix:

Today is Better than Two Tomorrows:

a beautiful film about two young boys ordaining as novices in Laos.
Directed by Anna Rogers with a poetic insight to village and temple life which vistors to Laos today can appreciate.
You Tube Trailer:

Buddha’s Lost Children
true story of compassion and tough love by Thai Monk (former Thai Boxer) Khru Ba Neua Cha Kositto  who raises abandoned and orphaned young boys as novices teaching them the art of living away from despair along the Thai/Burma border:
Full Film on You Tube:

Unmistaken Child: 
follows the four-year search for the reincarnation of Lama Konchog, a world-renowned Tibetan master who passed away in 2001 at age 84. Tenzin Zopa, his shy and devoted disciple is tasked to undertake the search.  Stunning scenery in Nepal.

Nominated for an Oscar–  see trailer of this touching film from Bhutan:
Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom


Dancing Across Borders: a film by Anne Bass
the incredible story of a young Cambodian, Sokvannara Sar, known as Sy, who makes it into the School of American Ballet.
Really beautiful film!   Watch trailers and order the DVD:

The Flute Player:

a moving documentary about Arn Chorn-Pond’s life surviving Khmer Rouge:

More background and perhaps available to order:

Arn Chorn-Pond is the founder of Cambodian Living Arts which started by finding any surviving music masters after the Fall of the Khmer Rouge.  Now a vibrant organization:

Epic film taking place in French Colonial Vietnam.
Starring Catherine Deneuve, Vincent Perez, Linh Dan Pham. Directed by Regis Wargnier. 
You Tube Trailer:

Myanmar ( Burma):

Twilight over Burma- My Life as a Shan Princess
A film has been made on the story of Austrian Inge Sargent who married Sao Kya Seng of Hsipaw who disappeared during the 1962 coup. Hopefully this film will be available online soon:

The book is available on

The Last Emperor  
superb acting and history of Emperor Pu Yi of China.
You Tube Trailer:

Ryuichi Sakamoto’s beautiful music touching the soul composed for the film The Last Emperor.
Ryuichi also acted in the film and is the pianist in this performance:


Tribal Music Asia: The Music of the Golden Triangle
Victoria Vorreiter began archiving the music of the Southeast Asia highlands in 2005. Very beautiful!

Love sharing these links for those not able to see these performances, listen and learn more behind the scenes:

Miss Saigon
– a great revival of a very touching story
I have to include this link to one of my favorite musicals which originally opened in 1989 with Lea Salonga. This Cameron Mackintosh production was revived again in London and went on to Broadway after 25 years with Eva Nobelzada as the new Kim and has continued on world tours.  It’s the tragic love story of Kim, orphaned after her village is bombed, and who falls in love with an American GI hoping for a better life, but gets left behind after the Fall of Saigon. It’s a story of the cruelty of war which tears mankind apart, families scattered, children abandoned and the sacrifice made by women. A story of many other real Kim’s and victims of all sides in the tragedy of war.
The beautiful music by Claude-Michel Schonberg and Alain Boubil sets the tone with an amazing cast.

Watch the Legendary Musical Miss Saigon is Reborn:

  the story of Japanese-American internment camps during World War II.  Inspired by George Takei of Star Trek who has made is first Broadway debut along with beautiful music and voices of Lea Salonga and Telly Leung.
Watch Allegiance Introduction- The Making of Gaman:

Fall 2011:

WOW- A World of Wonders! A fun Canadian Children’s TV Series

Season 4 has been aired on TV-Ontario which includes 3 Bali episodes. Their host Cari comes to have fun with coconuts and rice, and after some monkeying around, learns how to dance, play traditional music and cook some Bali food with Ibu Wayan, besides some other adventures and encounters.

Season 3 came to explore Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam with Cari learning about Lao traditions, a Book Party at Big Brother Mouse and how to be an elephant mahout! Then explores shadows around Angkor Wat and journeys along the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. WOW was nominated for a Youth Media Alliance Award for the Laos episode Rock Paper and Scissors in Season 3.
or see if still available at:  TVO Kids Ontario

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