Kundun (1997)

The destiny of a people lies in the heart of a boy.

Original Title : Kundun
Director : Martin Scorsese
Writer : Melissa Mathison
Genre : Biography
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Barbara De Fina, Laura Fattori, Scott Harris, Melissa Mathison, Perry Santos, Jeanne Stack
Music : Philip Glass
Photography : Roger Deakins
Distributor : Buena Vista Pictures, AMLF, Filmes Lusomundo, Focus Film AG, Kinowelt Filmverleih, Laurenfilm, NTV-PROFIT, Paris Vídeo, RCV Film Distribution, RCV Film Distribution, RCV Film Distribution, Scanbox Entertainment Finland, U.G.C. Worldwide Distribution
MPAA Rating : Rated PG-13 for violent images.
IMDB ID : 0119485
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poster for "Kundun" by Martin Scorsese (1997)
Kundun (1997) - Martin Scorsese


Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong Dalai Lama (Adult)
Gyurme Tethong Dalai Lama (Age 12)
Tulku Jamyang Kunga Tenzin Dalai Lama (Age 5)
Tenzin Yeshi Paichang Dalai Lama (Aged 2)
Tencho Gyalpo Mother
Tenzin Topjar Lobsang (5-10)
Tsewang Migyur Khangsar Father
Tenzin Lodoe Takster
Geshi Yeshi Gyatso Lama of Sera
Losang Gyatso The Messenger (as Lobsang Gyatso)
Sonam Phuntsok Reting Rimpoche
Gyatso Lukhang Lord Chamberlain
Lobsang Samten Master of the Kitchen
Jigme Tsarong Taktra Rimpoche (as Tsewang Jigme Tsarong)
Tenzin Trinley Ling Rimpoche
Namgay Dorjee Kashag / Nobleman
Phintso Thonden Kashag / Nobleman
Chewang Tsering Ngokhang Layman
Jamyang Tenzin Norbu Thundrup
Tashi Dhondup Lobsang (Adult)
Jampa Lungtok Nechung Oracle
Karma Wangchuk Deformed Face Bodyguard
Kim Chan Second Chinese General
Henry Yuk General Tan
Ngawang Kaldan Prime Minister Lobsang Tashi
Jurme Wangda Prime Minister Lukhangwa
Robert Lin Chairman Mao
Salden Kunga Tibetan Doctor (as Selden Kunga)
John Wong Chinese Comrade
Gawa Youngdung Old Woman
Tenzin Rampa Tenzin Chonegyl (Age 12)
Vyas Ananthakrishnan Indian Soldier
Ken Leung  (voice)
Yoon C. Joyce  (uncredited)
R. Gern Trowbridge Monk (uncredited)
Ben Wang General Chang Ching-Wu (uncredited)


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. In 1937, in a remote area of Tibet close to the Chinese border, a two year old child is identified as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, the compassionate Buddha. Two years later, the child is brought to Lhasa where he is schooled as a monk and as head of state amidst the color and pageantry of Tibetan culture. The film follows him into adulthood: when he is 14, the Chinese invade Tibet and he is forced into a shaky coalition government, he travels to China to meet with a cynical Mao, and, finally, in 1959, ill and under siege, he flees to India. Throughout, he has visions of his people's slaughter under Chinese rule.


I rented Kundun to further my quest to see all the Scorsese movies I can. I never expected such an incredible movie. I didn't want this movie to end. It's really difficult to describe how I feel about this movie since I have only viewed it once and was completely blown away, it left me in complete awe.Like most when I first started watching Scorsese I thought that he did brilliant gangster films and that was his thing, but I have recently discovered that this couldn't be further from the truth. Fist seeing The Last Temptation of Christ and now Kundun I wouldn't care if Scorsese ever made another gangster film. It is easy to see that he is an artistic genius, the acting in the film was great, but I could have watched it on mute and still have been amazed.If, like I was, you are unfamiliar with the Buddhist religion and the Chinese takeover of Tibet this film has even more to offer. Scorsese's risk of using real Buddhists to do all of the acting payed off better than I ever expected it would, the fact that we are hearing the story through the people it affected adds another level to this movie.I cannot believe that this film only has a rating of 7 on this site. If you are a fan of Scorsese and are not sure you are going to like this just give it a chance, it deserves at least one viewing, if you give it that I am sure you will be amazed as I was. Scorsese's vision's in this movie are unlike any of his films, not to mention a great score by Phillip Glass.
poster for "Kundun"
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Kundun (1997) - Martin Scorsese