First Czechoslovaks in Lhasa in 1954 : Tibet through the Red Box



Year of publication 2022
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description The filmmakers Vladimír Sís and Josef Vaniš stayed in Lhasa from 29 November 1954 to 2 January 1955. In Tibet, as army filmmakers, they made an hour-long color co-production film with Chinese colleagues about the construction of the Southern Highway. The film was completed in 1956 and screened in Czechoslovakia and elsewhere under the title The Road Leads to Tibet. An important, hitherto unknown literary testimony of the entire stay in China are the very detailed personal diaries, found in the family archives, which both travelers kept and which have not been published yet. It is a text of about seven hundred pages. Sís's eldest son, the world-renowned artist and author of children's (and adult) books, Peter, was between four and six years old during his father's Tibetan expedition. He put his memories of that time, as well as later conversations with his father, reading the aforementioned travel diary together, looking at photographs, etc., into his book Tibet: Through the Red Box, which has been published in many languages and won several awards. This paper compares the son's book and the father's diary in a historical context. The son's artistic conception of his father's visit to Tibet, in confrontation with the reality of the time, as well as the travel diary and other source material, provides a new testimony to the image of Tibet more than four decades later.
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