Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy

The Nonviolent Resistance of Tibetan Buddhist Nuns

28 minutes, 16MM color

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Since the Chinese occupation of Tibet, more than one million Tibetans have been tortured, executed or starved to death for their role in demonstrations against the Chinese occupation.

Tibetan nuns have fearlessly staged demonstrations for independence. Countless nuns have been imprisoned and tortured for shouting slogans, criticizing the Chinese state in conversations with foreigners, possessing posters which call for Tibetan independence, or hoisting the Tibetan flag. The treatment they receive as political prisoners is brutal.

In a deeply personal and lyrical style, Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy focuses on the testimonies of these nuns, revealing continued religious oppression and human rights abuses in occupied Tibet.

For over forty years the Tibetans have adhered to the principles of nonviolent social change. Satya seeks to understand the basis and inspiration for this choice of nonviolence, and the spiritual principles that influence their understanding of the enemy.


A guide for viewing and discussing Satya: A Prayer for the Enemy is available. This is a downloadable .pdf, which requires Adobe Acrobat to open. To download Acrobat for free, go to Adobe website.


Best of Festival
National Educational Film Festival

Best Documentary, Bay Area
San Francisco International Film Festival

Best Documentary
Atlanta Film Festival

Best Film for Juvenile Audiences
Film Festival of Youth, Germany

Silver Award
St. Petersburg International
Film Festival, Russia

Best Documentary
Silence Elles Tournent, Montreal+

Grand Jury Award
Oberhausen Film Festival, Germany

Best Educational Politics Film
Oberhausen Film Festival, Germany

Best Short Documentary
Santa Barbara Film Festival

National Captioning Institute Award
National Educational Film Festival

Catholic Film Workshop AwardOberhausen Film Festival, Germany

Special Jury Award
Mountain Film, Telluride, Colorado



"Through a fascinating and subtle interplay between sound and image the film dramatizes the painful effects of Chinese Communist repression of Buddhist beliefs in Tibet, and the determination of Buddhist monks to continue their struggle despite torture and imprisonment. The exquisite photography, the slow. methodical but deeply engaging editing rhythms, along with the inevitability of change, make the film seem a perfect expression of Buddhist thought."
— Jurors
The San Francisco Film Festival

"SATYA addresses the spiritual consequences of Chinese rule by registering the quiet outrage of teen-age nuns who have been forced by the Chinese to violate their Buddhist vows. Their strength is described with delicate obliqueness, in slow, blurred, deliberate images that take on the quality of a sustained chant. Ms. Bruno echoes Mr. Herzog's way of linking mood with meditation to travel well past the bounds of ordinary communication.
— Janet Maslin The New York Times

"The images in SATYA are often strikingly beautiful: a candle flickering in a temple, Tibetan children smiling in the sun, a rain soaked street at night. Out of these horrific tales Bruno has created a powerfully uplifting film.
— Doug Kim
Time Out

"A masterpiece of filmmaking. This film demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of educating and art-making."

"An evocative, poetic film made with wisdom and insight. If more films were made with a conscience even remotely close to this one, the world be a different place."

"In viewing Satya one sees the Native American, the Black South African, the African American, the Mexican, the Jew....the film begs the viewer to act against violence and oppression of all mankind."
— Jurors of the National Educational Film Festival

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