Kundun is a rare movie that offers a clear and non-sentimental look at one of the oppressed people in this world. It begins with the search for the 14th Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet, culminating when a young boy is able to identify the objects that belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama. That boy, Kundun, the re-incarnated Buddha of Compassion, is taken to a monastery in Lhasa and is instructed in the ways of the Buddhist religion.

As he grows older, Communist China, probably in an attempt to handle its burgeoning population, invades Tibet and eventually forces the Dalai Lama to flee to India. The movie really picks up when the Chinese invade, but ends rather abruptly when the Dalai Lama reaches India. But this is where his real quest, to win the liberation of Tibet, really begins.

This isn't a movie for everyone, but it is one that basically sticks to the facts and doesn't really resort to emotional appeal. Even the scenes where we see glimpses of the Chinese putting a gun into the hands of children and making them kill their own parents is handled abruptly and briefly. However, it does have an intellectual appeal, and it is a great history lesson, particularly if you're familiar with what happened with the Dalai Lama after his exile. The music and the cinematography are the icing on the cake as far as this movie is concerned. I highly recommend it.

Movie ramblings || Ram Samudrala || me@ram.org