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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 amazing story of the fourteenth Dalai Lama. 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

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

According to In Search of Kundun with Martin Scorsese (1998), when Melissa Mathison first presented her agency with the script and they asked her who she had in mind as director, her first choice was Martin Scorsese. According to her, everyone was in disbelief he would consider the script let alone direct the film (Scorsese is a part of the "Movie Brats" group of filmmakers from the 1970's, which included friend and collaborator Steven Spielberg). See more »

Goofs

When the young boy is first being tested, he is presented with several pairs of objects to choose between. When it comes to choosing between two bowls, he picks up the bowl on the right and examines it. When he places the bowl back on the table, he has the bowl on the left in his hand. 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 The Truth About Dalai Lama (2015) See more »

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User Reviews

 
An opera
17 July 2006 | by OttoVonBSee all my reviews

Tibet. The young boy who shall become the 14th Dailai Lama is discovered and trained. At an early age he has to deal with his country's invasion by the Chinese and is ultimately forced into exile.

Those expecting a Martin Scorsese film will be disappointed. This is not his typical kind of story and - fittingly - neither does it bear his typical direction. Using a cast of non-actors for the most part and opting for a more artful photographic style (kudos to DP Roger Deakins, veteran Coen collaborator, for his mesmerizing work here), Scorsese gives a truly spiritual film revolving around one of History's great tragedies. It is a feast of sights and sounds that succeeds in making Tibet alluring and makes for even more of a heartbreak for the viewer when this country is violated and destroyed. Perhaps as important as any other collaboration - if not more so - is the score by Philip Glass providing unusual but haunting melodies and depth.

Kundun is regarded by many as a misstep. It does wander a long way from the gangster territory and the familiar NYC surroundings Scorsese usually plays with. In truth, that such a comfortable veteran director might take such an artistic and financial risk is both surprising and inspiring. This will never gain the popularity of "Raging Bull" or "Goodfellas", because it speaks of a world that disappeared. Nevertheless, it might just be, with "Last Temptation of Christ", Scorsese's deepest and most important film.


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