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Unmistaken Child (2008)

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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 567 users   Metascore: 66/100
Reviews: 12 user | 44 critic | 15 from

In Nepal, a venerable monk, Geshe Lama Konchog, dies and one of his disciples, a youthful monk named Tenzin Zopa, searches for his master's reincarnation. The film follows his search to the... See full summary »



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Title: Unmistaken Child (2008)

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Credited cast:
Tenzin Zopa


In Nepal, a venerable monk, Geshe Lama Konchog, dies and one of his disciples, a youthful monk named Tenzin Zopa, searches for his master's reincarnation. The film follows his search to the Tsum Valley where he finds a young boy of the right age who uncannily responds to Konchog's possessions. Is this the reincarnation of the master? After the boy passes several tests, Tenzin takes him to meet the Dalai Lama. Will the parents agree to let the boy go to the monastery, and, if so, how will the child respond? Central to the film is the relationship the child develops with Tenzin. Written by <>

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A Tibetan monk's search for the reincarnation of his beloved teacher




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Release Date:

4 June 2009 (Netherlands)  »

Also Known As:

Unmistaken Child  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$6,293 (USA) (5 June 2009)


$302,703 (USA) (23 October 2009)

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Featured in Grierson 2010: The British Documentary Awards (2010) See more »


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User Reviews

Little Lama
11 January 2010 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

A very interesting documentary about the search for the reincarnation of a Buddhist Lama. Everything is shown on camera, including the search for the reincarnated Lama. The search eventually ends when a 2 year old is chosen to be the reincarnated lama. The process is quite interesting and I couldn't help but wonder what the 2 year old was thinking during the whole thing. Was it all just a game to him to identify his previous belongings? The parents of the little Lama are also torn between giving up their son and honouring their faith. I guess it's not a challenging prediction to guess which one they choose. The pain in their faces is obvious when they have to give up their son to a bunch of men in robes.

The little boy is interesting and intelligent but you have to wonder about his future and whether he really had any choice in the matter. There's no narration in the movie and both sides are shown pretty fairly. Occasionally the little boy does say things that makes him look like a Lama but then there are times which make him look like a little boy. Even when he's acting like a Lama I have a hard time not believing he's just playing pretend. He's 2 and doesn't really know the motivations of the adult world.

Take a kid at 2 and it's very easy to brainwash him and turn him into whatever you want. This is one of the nastier parts of what is otherwise seen to be as a very benign religion.

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Ebert really missed the mark on this one JyLx
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