"Heartfelt look at the resilience of the human spirit."
LA Times, Susan King
"Gyatso is engaging, charming, and riveting his story horrifying."
ABC News, Nancy Ramsey
"Powerful doc"
Time Out Magazine, Drew Toal



Fire Under the Snow (2008)

Director: Makoto Sasa

Critics' rating:4 Four Stars ****

From Time Out New York

Palden Gyatso, a Tibetan monk now living in India, was tortured in Chinese prisons for 33 years. And it wasn’t mere waterboarding: Gyatso once had a cattle prod stuck in his mouth, which quickly destroyed all of his teeth (a situation that could’ve been a problem if they had actually fed him real food). This short but powerful doc provides a human element and historical perspective for armchair protestors who probably couldn’t find Tibet on a map—but because Adam Yauch and other celebrities care about the issue, know only that “they’re for it.”

Author: Drew Toal 2008-08-05 17:54:20

Time Out New York Issue 671: August 7-13, 2008

News & Press

“They seemed an unlikely pair — the Tibetan Buddhist monk who had spent 33 years in Chinese prisons and labor camps and the aspiring Japanese filmmaker.”

Daniel E. Slotnik , New York Times

"If you think you're lost, you're lost. If you think you're a winner, you're a winner."

…said Palden Gyatso, as he was trying to explain to us the secret to his inner strength.

Rachelle J. Hruska, Guest of a Guest

“Gyatso’s unwavering faith in the face of horrific circumstances would make for essential viewing.”

Sara Cardace, New York Magazine


“Powerful Doc”

Drew Toal,Time Out Magazine

“A harrowing and inspiring film.”

Justin Lowe, Hollywood Reporter

“Heartfelt look at the resilience of the human spirit.”

Susan King, LA Times

"Fascinating and frightening documentary.”

Andrew O’Hehir, Salon.com

“Taking Reverend Al’s mantra of ‘No Justice, No Peace’ to another level!”

Bevy Smith, Papermag

"Gyatso is engaging, charming, and riveting his story horrifying."

Nancy Ramsey , ABC NEWS


“Be warned: The opening ceremonies for the 2008 Olympics might look a little different if you see Makoto Sasa's disturbing documentary beforehand. “

Elizabeth Weitzman, Daily News

“Well-crafted docu...Makoto Sasa contrasts the horror of the story and the serenity of its teller for dramatic impact”

Ronnie Scheib, Variety