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Buddha's Lost Children
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Buddha's Lost Children More at IMDbPro »

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13 out of 14 people found the following review useful:

Stunningly moving and inspiring

Author: cuzz333 from Netherlands
3 September 2006

This true story really is as the caption says: "a breathtaking true story of compassion and tough love". Even if you have no passion for Buddhism or Thailand, as one might expect you'd need to have, this film is a must see. This little community in the remote hills of Northern Thailand is not portrayed as exotic and alien, but instead brought to life with a pallet of our most familiar human emotions. Mark Verkerk follows their struggles and joys through an observational style of storytelling, allowing you to look and discover for yourself this spectacular world. In this way you are given an insight into the lives not only of the fascinating character of the Abbot Phra Kru Ba, but more importantly into the lives of the novices; the lost children of this troubled border region. You can hardly not be moved by this gorgeous portrait. These characters undoubtedly will enrich your life with their joy for life, compassion, strength, wisdom and stunning smiles.

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11 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Inspirational documentary about the hardship of survival

Author: Gordon-11 from Earth
30 July 2007

This documentary is about a Buddhist monk setting up a monastery to help orphans and children in need in northern Thailand.

The film is a linear chronicle of events that happened over one year. The children are "lost" because they lost their parents, or simply because of their parents are too poor to raise them. In the beginning of the film, we see a mother giving up her son because she cannot afford to raise all her kids. She entrusts her son to Kruh Bah, a monk dedicated to changing the lives of others. In his words, he is a medium to pass on knowledge to children. Not only does he teach the teachings of Buddha, but also very basic things such as the importance of brushing teeth every day. The children also get to learn how to handle animals, and how to do so with respect.

The film is full of love and care. Even after some youngsters tries to pick a fight (using alarmingly long harvest knives) with him, he forgives and offers them jobs for a month, so that he gets to teach these youngsters what life is about.

I think this documentary is inspirational. It portrays how life is like when every day is a struggle for survival. It tells me how life is in other parts of the world, where people are not as materialistic. It is a part of the world and a culture which I am unlikely to be able to experience first hand. Though the film is a bit slow, it is worth the watch!

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8 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Buddhas Lost Children is a true and honest story about what love and dedication can do to connect to other people and enrich your own life.

Author: thijssmit from Netherlands
12 September 2006

Buddhas Lost Children is a documentary but it watches like a movie. It tells the story of a Thai-boxer becoming a monk called Phra Khru Bah and taking care of orphans in a very poor region in the north of Thailand. Although the story is not always logical to follow because there are jumps in time and space the real story being told here is that of love, dedication and sharing. It may sound soft but when you take the time to watch this documentary you'll find out that life over there is very tough and it takes a lot of creativity and flexibility to take care of the many children Phra Kru Bah has under his care. Watching Buddhas Lost Children brought me into a certain mood that made me reflect on what is really important in life, that's why for me this documentary is a valuable lesson in what life is really about.

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7 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

The chosen children who once were lost

Author: coreline from Netherlands
14 September 2006

Buddha's Lost Children is one of my favorites ! This film touches me deeply. An amazing and splendid document about life in Northern Thailand near the border of Birma. The scenery is so beautiful. But this Golden Triangle area is notorious for the drugs culture. Life is very tough here. The inhabitants live in poverty without running water without electricity. No medical care, no schools. Of course many of their children are lost here. But since 1991 a very special man lives here: Kruh Bah, a Buddhist monk, a former Thai box champion. For me he is: the Buddhist Hero on Horseback. He created The Golden Horse, an exceptional monastery. Here Kruh Bah shelters and teaches 20 lost boys and orphans he encountered in the area. This is so moving: we see very young boys leaving their mothers and families for education and to become a novice on horseback. All boys develop many skills and learn Thai boxing and horse riding. When they are grown up, they can spread their wings and start a life of their own. But some prefer to stay here as a monk assisting Kruh Bah with his life changing work. The whole group is traveling around on horseback, changing the whole area into a better place.

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

Take your kids to see this one for sure!

Author: efcarter from United States
8 January 2007

Excellent documentary about a man, Phra Kru Ba Neua Chai, that used to be a professional Thai kick boxer, but did not find the career rewarding and became a Thai Buddhist monk instead. After a close friend of his dies he realizes his kick boxing career is not truly fulfilling so he abruptly stops his professional career and starts meditating to learn what it is he should be doing with his life. He decides on becoming a monk and opens a monastery high up in the hills along the Thai Burma border. This monastery is called Golden Horse Monastery and becomes a safe haven for orphaned boys from the surrounding villages. Many of these villages are along the route of drug smugglers so the villagers are often abused and scared into helping the drug war lords. Phra Kru Ba uses his kick boxing experience to train the boys in his orphanage to defend themselves only if needed and to help build the boys self confidence. The monastery started receiving donated horses being saved from slaughter houses, so these are used as well to teach the boys equestrian skills and how to care for another living creature. The work of this one single monk is to be commended and the film does an excellent job of telling a great story without imposing any commentary. The monk is not a traditional monk, but he clearly states he is helping the boys first, and a monk second, so a mix of skills are used to teach the boys life lessons. I am sure some Buddhist monks would cringe at some of Phra Kru Ba's techniques; however I am just as sure that they are the right techniques needed in such a tough environment. He is teaching these young boys how to be responsible and respectful, most of which came to him with zero life skills. They are learning life lessons that they would not have received if left alone in their villages. Some boys only stay a few weeks and return home while other boys stay for years. Some boys decide to become novice monks and are taught how to meditate and care for each other. Each novice is given a horse to care for and each novice is also taught how to teach the newest novice. By being assigned the task of teaching the newest novice how to train and how to care for a horse they themselves are learning they have these skills. You can see the confidence grow within these boys in a very short window of time and it is a beautiful experience to witness. The stories that unfold in this documentary are heart warming and honest. A great must see film.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Commercial masterpiece in documentary film-making

Author: hedyvb from Netherlands
18 September 2006

Against a backdrop of extraordinarily beautiful and vivid images, this stunning Mark Verkerk film tells the story of a Buddhist monk and the work he does with poor children in the desolate and dangerous Golden Triangle region of Thailand. The monk and a devoted nun take these young children under their wings and teach them everything from how to wash themselves and brush their teeth, to how to ride and take care of a horse. However, what makes this film as unique as it is is that this monk has an edge...

He's a former Thai box champion. And has a sense of humor to boot. He's clearly seen and experienced life in all its complexities. This tends to make him very human and accessible. Which is also evident during the journeys he and the novices make from village to village, where the locals can do with some positive influences. Beyond all else, the straightforward and tough love with which the monk treats these boys has clearly reaped its rewards. And is a joy for the viewer to behold.

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

A warm and positive film about 'tough love'

Author: medusastone from Netherlands
6 October 2006

Buddha's Lost Children is an interesting registration of a man that tries to create a better life for the people around him by giving them a sense of self worth and awareness of their decaying culture. He mainly does this by taking in children in the Golden Horse Tempel and teaching them respect, wisdom, Thai-boxing and life's lessons. This documentary was clearly made with a lot of love, the same amount of love Phra Khru Ba gives to the children in his monastery. Mark Verkerk keeps a certain distance and no judgments about the things that happen in front of the camera. He's just there to record the special energy that surrounds the monk and his positive deeds. Truly a sweet, positive movie with beautiful images and a life-lesson that isn't cliché but gives you the urge to become a better person.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Anyone with a love for the Far East should see this movie

Author: ekaptijn from Amsterdam, Netherlands
23 October 2006

Buddha's Lost Children manages to suck you right into the lives of its main characters. Director Verkerk and cameraman Heijnen were able to enter the "realm" of monk Phra Khru Bah and film him and his novices skin close. If you think all Buddhist monks spend their days meditating and worshipping, you'll get a refreshing insight into a more up-to-date version: this Thai counterpart of the Ratcatcher-of- Hamelin-on-horseback has a full time job dedicated to offering poor boys a future away from poverty, drugs and violence. The monk is the kind of father children are drawn to, admire and fear at the same time. A parent they'll worship once they're grown. The relationship between the monk and his right-hand-nun is one of utter respect and dedication. Even under the most difficult circumstances, their synergy make things happen. Although less featured in the film, the unconventional nun seems to be at least as important to the boys as the monk is.

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