7.0/10
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Kundun (1997)

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

Director:

Martin Scorsese

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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 Thuthob Tsarong ... Dalai Lama (Adult)
Gyurme Tethong ... Dalai Lama (Age 12)
Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin ... Dalai Lama (Age 5)
Tenzin Yeshi Paichang Tenzin Yeshi Paichang ... Dalai Lama (Aged 2)
Tencho Gyalpo Tencho Gyalpo ... Mother
Tenzin Topjar Tenzin Topjar ... Lobsang (5-10)
Tsewang Migyur Khangsar Tsewang Migyur Khangsar ... Father
Tenzin Lodoe Tenzin Lodoe ... Takster
Geshi Yeshi Gyatso Geshi Yeshi Gyatso ... Lama of Sera
Losang Gyatso Losang Gyatso ... The Messenger (as Lobsang Gyatso)
Sonam Phuntsok Sonam Phuntsok ... Reting Rinpoche
Gyatso Lukhang Gyatso Lukhang ... Lord Chamberlain
Lobsang Samten Lobsang Samten ... Master of the Kitchen
Jigme Tsarong Jigme Tsarong ... Taktra Rimpoche (as Tsewang Jigme Tsarong)
Tenzin Trinley 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 destiny of a people lies in the heart of a boy. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | Monaco | Morocco

Language:

English | Tibetan | Mandarin

Release Date:

16 January 1998 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Кундун See more »

Filming Locations:

Ait Benhaddou, Morocco See more »

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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
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The 14th Dalai Lama took his position as the head of Tibet on 17th November 1950. On this day director Martin Scorcsese was celebrating his Eighth Birthday. On this day Kundun assumed full temporal (political) power after China's invasion of Tibet in 1949 (Iron-Tiger Year, 10th month, 11th day) 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

Dalai Lama: Wisdom and compassion will set us free.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Connections

Featured in Scorsese on Scorsese (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Film from the Heart
18 November 2006 | by Barky44See all my reviews

You can tell that "Kundun" was a Martin Scorsese pet project, a story he really wanted to bring to the big screen. A film about a holy man and peaceful resistance is not your standard commercial fare, but this film visually stunning and emotionally poignant. Throw in the intriguing Philip Glass score and you have quick a sensory experience.

Scorsese took a brilliant approach to this film in many ways:

-- Casting unknown actors: the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people are unpretentious themselves, casting any names in the part would not only be ethnically sacrilegious, but would have missed the point. -- When they couldn't film in Tibet, they filmed in Morocco. Yet they picked terrific locations that definitely suggest the highest plateau in the world. -- Their use of color and movement is stunning. The cinematography is beautiful, the awards this film received for this are well deserved.

The only issue I had with the film were the dreamlike episodes towards the end. The film would have been more powerful if they showed some of Mao's tyranny, instead of suggesting it through dream sequences (see "The Killing Fields" for how this can be done).

Otherwise, this is a cerebral piece, not an action piece. If you can get by this, and watch it during the daytime so you don't fall asleep during the boring bits, it's a very good film.

8 out of 10


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