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Kundun (1997)

PG-13  |   |  Biography, Drama, History  |  25 December 1997 (USA)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 20,640 users   Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 116 user | 86 critic | 26 from Metacritic.com

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

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Title: Kundun (1997)

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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 6 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong ...
Gyurme Tethong ...
Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin ...
Tenzin Yeshi Paichang ...
Tencho Gyalpo ...
Tenzin Topjar ...
Lobsang (5-10)
Tsewang Migyur Khangsar ...
Tenzin Lodoe ...
Geshi Yeshi Gyatso ...
Losang Gyatso ...
The Messenger (as Lobsang Gyatso)
Sonam Phuntsok ...
Reting Rinpoche
Gyatso Lukhang ...
Lobsang Samten ...
Jigme Tsarong ...
Taktra Rimpoche (as Tsewang Jigme Tsarong)
Tenzin Trinley ...
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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:

Language:

| |

Release Date:

25 December 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Кундун  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$28,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$72,095 (USA) (26 December 1997)

Gross:

£157,451 (UK) (10 April 1998)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

|

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Features only non-professional actors. See more »

Goofs

(at around 54 mins) The Dalai Lama asks Phalu if they can seek India's help, and Phalu says that India is a new independent country still struggling. In the next shot, it is 5 years later, 1949. This means that the previous shot took place in 1944, while India was still under British rule. India got its independence on August 15, 1947, three years after Dalai Lama asks for India's help. See more »

Quotes

Indian: Are you the Lord Buddha?
Dalai Lama: I believe I am a reflection, like the moon on water. When you see me, and I try to be a good man, you see yourself.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Referenced in Ebert Presents: At the Movies: Episode #2.22 (2011) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An exceptional film which refuses to compromise its artistic values
14 January 1999 | by (Baltimore, Marylan) – See all my reviews

"Kundun" is one of those rare masterpieces that unfortunately might be run over by more Hollywood acceptable films like "Titanic" and "Seven Years in Tibet" (both films that I still admire). While these films were great, their primary purpose seemed to be entertainment alone. Scorsese creates a work out of the bounds of traditional films; "Kundun" is at once a spiritual journey, a compelling story despite its downplayed action, and a delight for the eyes and ears. It is both entertainment and art. The audience isn't captivated by dramatic action, but simply because it is so beautiful. At the same time, it doesn't produce the slightly sleepy sensation other artistic works like "The Last Emperor of China" can, despite their beauty (I personally loved "Last Emperor"). Not once was I tempted to turn away from the screen.

Scorsese mixes symbolic images and a subtle yet emotionally stirring soundtrack into a non-traditional plot structure, creating an exotic and spiritual vision meeting the demands of its eastern inspiration.

I am not a historian, so I cannot speak about its accuracy, though from what I can tell, Scorsese did his homework. Even if that were not true, this film is not meant as a documentary. It has the same emotional power of the finest art, with a simplicity and directness which keeps it from being pretentious. If you add to this historical accuracy, all the better. But it is not meant to influence via facts but via emotion.

Even those viewers who don't normally sit through credits will most likely do so, simply for the chance to let the film soak in. You need the time to digest everything you've been shown and to sit in contemplative peace. This is a film that inspires and delights. It is the film I wish I could have created. Scorsese has certainly produced the best film of the year, if not more.


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