Kundun (1997)

Kundun (1997)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Cast: Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong as Dalai Lama (Adult), Gyurme Tethong as Dalai Lama (Age 12), Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin as Dalai Lama (Age 5), Tenzin Yeshi Paichang as Dalai Lama (Aged 2), Tencho Gyalpo as Mother, Tenzin Topjar as Lobsang (5-10), Tsewang Migyur Khangsar as Father, Tenzin Lodoe as Takster, Geshi Yeshi Gyatso as Lama of Sera, Losang Gyatso as The Messenger (as Lobsang Gyatso), Sonam Phuntsok as Reting Rimpoche, Gyatso Lukhang as Lord Chamberlain, Lobsang Samten as Master of the Kitchen, Jigme Tsarong as Taktra Rimpoche (as Tsewang Jigme Tsarong), Tenzin Trinley as Ling Rimpoche

"Kundun" is Martin Scorsese's most underrated film. It's something
quite fantastic to watch such an amazing film about the early years of
the Dalai Lama and the plight of Tibetan Buddhists knowing that it
comes from a man who has long wrestled with his own religious ghosts
(witness the still hotly debated conundrum that is his "Last Temptation
of Christ"). With probably only "The Age of Innocence" to compare to in
Scorsese's now hallowed canon, "Kundun" is a breathtaking work of
art--visually sumptuous (with beautiful work from cinematographer Roger
Deakins), hauntingly transcendental, and deeply symbolic.

As an outsider looking in, Scorsese manages to create an intimate level
of detail that someone who lives and breathes Buddhism might have
overlooked. Many rituals and practices are presented exactly as they
are with no attempts to explain their purpose or translate their
meaning to Western culture. This allows them to keep their rich
symbolism, which translates perfectly to Scorsese's visual palette.
From the rich colors of meditative sand art to the bright red blood
spilled during China's unlawful occupation of Tibet, everything takes
on a deeper meaning that leaves much to the imagination and higher

Wisely, Scorsese follows the same template of Richard Attenborough's
equally resonating Oscar winning epic "Ghandi" by adapting a straight
forward approach to his presentation of the Dalai Lama's most
tumultuous years. Except for a few dreamlike vision sequences, he stays
mostly out of the man's head, and instead shows his power through his
actions and dedication to his people and the practice of non-violence.
"Kundun" is as near perfect a biopic as one can make.

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