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Kundun (1997)

From childhood to adulthood, Tibet's fourteenth Dalai Lama deals with Chinese oppression and other problems.

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 7 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
...
Tenzin Yeshi Paichang ...
Dalai Lama (Aged 2)
Tencho Gyalpo ...
Mother
Tenzin Topjar ...
Lobsang (5-10)
Tsewang Migyur Khangsar ...
Father
Tenzin Lodoe ...
Takster
Geshi Yeshi Gyatso ...
Lama of Sera
Losang Gyatso ...
The Messenger (as Lobsang Gyatso)
Sonam Phuntsok ...
Reting Rinpoche
Gyatso Lukhang ...
Lord Chamberlain
Lobsang Samten ...
Master of the Kitchen
Jigme Tsarong ...
Taktra Rimpoche (as Tsewang Jigme Tsarong)
Tenzin Trinley ...
Ling Rimpoche
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Storyline

The Tibetans refer to the Dalai Lama as 'Kundun', which means 'The Presence'. He was forced to escape from his native home, Tibet, when communist China invaded and enforced an oppressive regime upon the peaceful nation of Tibet. The Dalai Lama escaped to India in 1959 and has been living in exile in Dharamsala ever since. Written by Deki

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The amazing story of the fourteenth Dalai Lama. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for violent images | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

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Language:

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Release Date:

16 January 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Кундун  »

Filming Locations:

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Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$72,095, 28 December 1997, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$5,532,301, 29 March 1998
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Included among the "1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die", edited by Steven Schneider. See more »

Goofs

Some of the Chinese soldiers with goggles that go marching by are obviously Caucasian. See more »

Quotes

Dalai Lama: Thus by the virtue that has collected through all that I have done may the pain of every living creature be completely cleared away.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The Touchstone Pictures logo shown after the end credits is red. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Glass: A Portrait of Philip in Twelve Parts (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

 
You can not liberate me, only I can liberate myself...

"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 mind.

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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