Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet (2005)



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Born in Tibet in 1903, Gendun Choepel was a Buddhist monk who was believed to be the reincarnation of a respected holy man and began his religious education at the age of four. But while Choepel was a man of great faith, he was also an intelligent individual with a critical nature and he discovered his willingness to question both Buddhist teachings and the policies of the Tibetan leadership earned him few friends in his homeland, especially as the Chinese government began its stranglehold on Tibetan affairs. Choepel gave up his life as a monk to pursue secular education in India; his writings and art earned him an international reputation as a man of talent and wisdom, but when he returned to Tibet, he found the land of his birth to be a far more restrictive place than when he left, and his willingness to voice his opinions had tragic consequences -- he was charged with inciting political discord and died in prison in 1951. With time, Choepel became a symbol of the intellectual and spiritual freedom that was lost in Tibet when China took hold of the country, and Swiss filmmaker Luc Schaedler uses Choepel's story as a framework for examining a little-understood side of Tibet and Buddhism in the documentary Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet. Angry Monk received its North American premiere at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi


Critic Reviews for Angry Monk: Reflections on Tibet

All Critics (6) | Top Critics (4)

Schaedler's film raises as many questions as he answers.

Jan 5, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

This scholarly 2005 tribute to activist Gendun Choephel (1903-'51) stands out among movies about the Sino-Tibetan conflict because Swiss filmmaker Luc Shaedler, like his subject, aims to demythologize Tibet.

Apr 20, 2007 | Full Review…

This incisive film -- which opens with rare footage of angry monks throwing stones at Chinese troops -- nicely resists and complicates simpler views of the storied land.

Apr 20, 2007 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Input from historians and surviving intimates, archival material and handsome latter-day footage retracing Choepel's journeys mix smoothly in polished package.

Feb 6, 2006
Top Critic

A view of Tibet that differs from Richard Gere's deification of the Dalai Lama and "Lost Horizon". Highly recommended portrait of Buddhist monk who evolved into a revolutionary.

Feb 28, 2007 | Full Review…

Schaedler allows us almost no real understanding of Choepel.

Jan 24, 2006 | Rating: C

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