Told through the eyes of His Holiness, 'Kundun’ chronicles his early life, from childhood through the Chinese occupation and his journey into exile. The film charts his extraordinary growth into a figure who raises the world’s consciousness about the Buddhist society of the spirit, the plight of Tibet, and the sufferings endured by his people with unspeakable grace and dignity.
 

5
This magnificent film demonstrates what a master filmmaker Scorsese actually is.

For a man who trained in the priesthood before becoming a filmmaker it`s perhaps no surprise that Martin Scorsese was drawn to make the film Kundun, the story of the fourteenth Dalai Lama of Tibet, a man whose religion is based on compassion and non-violence. Just how far from contemporary Hollywood can you get?

Scorsese working with screenwriter Melissa Mathison and with non-professional actors begins the film with the discovery and recognition of a young boy in a farming community in Tibet as the future spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people.

The film depicts his life from this early age to his ultimate self-exile after the Chinese invasion. We see his fascination with things mechanical, his awe and immersion in things spiritual, his anguish about the suffering of his people.

This magnificent film demonstrates what a master filmmaker Scorsese actually is. Because visually, thematically we are immersed in the culture, the traditions, the spirituality and the sheer human beauty of this young man who had to confront so much at such a young age. I had read that the film was like a Buddhist mantra and suffering from jetlag when I saw it I approached Kundun with apprehension. I needn`t have worried, it`s cinema of the very best sort, rivetting, visually sumptuous and insightful and emotionally engaging.

Dante Ferretti`s production design and Roger Deakin`s cinematography bring enormous richness to the film. Philip Glass` score is terrific, possibly adding just a bit too much at times, Melissa Mathison`s screenplay is occasionally a touch simplistic, but actually nothing could mar this film for me. It`s such a relief to see something great again.