Kundun - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Kundun Reviews

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October 7, 2016
The movie, Kundun, starts out in a small village in Tibet. Here lives a Buddhist family with three children that are going about their daily life with a very demanding toddler. They get visitors that are Buddhist monks traveling and looking for a particular child. One of the monks notices how the youngest son of the family reacts when he sees the beads he is wearing. When given the test for the Dalia Lama, he chose all the correct items and is seen as the 14th Dalia Lama. The boy is taken to live with the monks so he can be trained to lead the people of Tibet. He grows up there with the monks while China increases pressure for Tibet to become part of China. One day, China decides to invade Tibet and enforce their rule over the people. The Dalia Lama has no choice but to flee Tibet, heading to India, on a very dangerous trip. He is exiled from Tibet to this day in fear that if he returns to Tibet he will killed. I think that the movie moved a little slow, though that could also be in part to the Buddhist belief in peace and calmness. Though it was slow to progress, it gave a good look at the life of the 14Th Dalia Lama and his struggle to keep the indemnity of Tibet. There were some interesting scenes, such as the sand mandala creation, the ritual ceremony in which Kundun's father was hacked into pieces and fed to vultures, and the point when the man who found the Dalia Lama was found dead in his jail cell.

This movie reveals many of the key concepts of Buddhism. They make mention of the Four Noble Truths, the Buddhist belief that nothing is permanent, and the fact that in Buddhism, nobody is above being taught. Even though Kundun was seen as a spirit, he was still raised and taught by teachers. He wasn't all-knowing. Also, a ritual in the Buddhist religion that has particularly interested me this semester is that of sand mandalas. In Kundun, a giant sand mandala was constructed. When Kundun's father was chopped up, it was done as a sky burial, a common ritual. The movie relates to how the world religions are seen as holding progress of the world back. The Chinese leader thought that Buddhism was a plague on the people of Tibet and needed to be removed from the government of the country. The people of the world have become more intelligent and think that religion is outdated with no place in a modern society. As we become more advanced we have lost focus on the importance of the teachings that all religions have passed down through the generations. We now put our faith and trust in finding our own answers to the problems we face. The Chinese in the film were only concerned with expanding the empire and becoming the dominant country in the region. The Chinese leader felt that Buddhism was in the way of his conquest for power and the communist rule that he inspired.
September 5, 2016
Excellent fascinating blend history and of Tibetan culture. I especially love the sand ritual woven into the film.
½ August 27, 2016
Highly watchable and certainly not boring, even if on the long side. Feels like it was intended to be more of a political statement than it turns out to be.
February 9, 2016
In addition to being a powerful biographical coming-of-age story, "Kundun" brings to the screen an important Tibetan issue.
November 15, 2015
Kundun was a very inspiring movie. It showed the growing and teachings of the Dali lama from a child to an adult. They taught him the love and compassion he should have for the people, and how to act and think like a Buddhist leader. Even though he used his greatness to his advantage, in the end he came to a balance and became a great leader. He had to take the role of kundan, and later try to deal with china and having to flee to India. I think starting him off at a younger age and teaching him kind of got him prepared for what was to come. It showed the leader of a country through the eyes of a little boy even when he wasn't taking life that serious, which brought life to the movie. I think when he had to look at the lives of the people taking, and flea it brought sadness to the movie. I think this plays a big part of world religion and the Buddhist faith. To get a glance of what happens and the rising of an up and coming leader is a big deal. They train there leaders over time. They just don't do it over night. They train there leaders with compassion and love. They also train them with an iron fist. Buddhist are really picky about who they choose as leaders. The movie touched points in what I learn about Buddhist about how they view people and life. They are all about love and doing well into others. There karma and enlightment on each other places the biggest part on how they treat people. For the little boy to become a good leader he had to go through stuff and learn how to go through it with the training of others and his mother. Even the death of his father was a big learning experience for him
½ November 15, 2015
Kundun is a film by famed director Martin Scorsese about the life of the 14th Dalai Lama and the oppression of the Chinese on Tibet. The cinematography is visually captivating and the musical score is one of the best I have heard in a long. Although this movie was released in 1997 it is very relevant to today's political climate. The pace to me was very slow but not unbearably slow. I am a fan of action movies but thoroughly enjoyed this drama portrayal of the Dalai Lama. The acting was great and I felt connected to the characters. The young Lama was fun to watch and as he grew into a man we felt more engaged with his character. The Lama is subject to a great deal of ridicule by some people but deeply respected by his faithful followers. This is a great story that shows how strong a man's own faith can keep people in peace and control their own minds and souls. I can admit that I really didn't know this story and how he had to escape Tibet to India for safety but the movie brings the viewer into the room and atmosphere as he has to make the tough decision to leave his people of stay and die. Beautifully captures the sad story of Tibet losing its sovereignty. The movie has many references to Buddhist traditions like pacifism and living an ascetic life. In the movie we see where the Dalai Lama is taught about the Middle Way and the Noble Eightfold Path. We also see the Buddhist concept of reincarnation when the boy is very young and he is able to pick items the belonged to the former Lama indicating that it is him in a new human form. Overall this movie was well written and beautifully directed..
½ August 29, 2015
Ok, maybe I'm a bit cynical but I find it hard to take seriously the account of a man who believes he a reincarnated monarch.
This suffers from the typical biopic problems of having to fit too much in. The acting is strangely wooden in parts. Beautifully shot and scored though.
July 7, 2015
Despite its non-professional cast, Kundun is beautiful religious and spiritual masterpiece which refuses to compromise its artistic values. Kundun is about the life of the 14th Dalai Lama, the exiled political and spiritual leader of Tibet is a compelling journey and Martin Scorsese's most under-appreciated film.
July 2, 2015
Tem um eficaz trabalho de montagem e uma bela trilha sonora de Philip Glass, mas peca em certos momentos do roteiro e pelo elenco irregular.
May 2, 2015
The score. Phillip Glass's pounding score brings the movie together and turns it into a true epic.
April 9, 2015
A great arthouse film that shows that Martin Scorsese can make a movie out of his comfort zone and make it great as well. The movie is interesting throughout the whole 2 hours and the film is directed in such a beautiful way. I don't known if I'd ever watch the film again, but I'm glad I watched it. 8/10
April 8, 2015
At a running time of 2 hours and 15 minutes this literally felt like a four hour movie.
April 8, 2015
At a running time of 2 hours and 15 minutes this literally felt like a four hour movie.
April 1, 2015
Mesmerizing, the only problem I have is the use of English dialogue. The score will haunt you forever as will the images.
November 10, 2014
My movie review will be about the movie Kundun, directed by Martin Scorsese. Kundun is a movie about the early life of Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama. Throughout the entire film, the Dalai Lama was never referred to by his birth name, but instead referred to as either Kundun, or Dalai Lama. The film begins at Tenzin Gyatso's very early age. After the death of the 13th Dalai Lama, the monks of Tibet went in search of the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama, the 14th Dalai Lama. Eventually, their search came to an end when the found a young buy near the border of China and Tibet. To make sure the young boy was the actual reincarnated Dalai Lama, he was put through a test. The test was to pick a few artifacts among others, and the artifacts that were to be chosen were those that belonged to the previous Dalai Lama's. Young Tenzin picked all of the correct artifacts, claiming they were his. Since then, his journey as head of the Tibetans began. He was taught the way of Buddhism and also the way of life of a Buddhist Monk. Halfway through the film, the problem between China and Tibet came to light, which to this very day continues. The issue is that China does not want to recognize Tibet as an independent nation, but instead claim it as a part of China. Although older, the Dalai Lama was still too young to deal with a situation such as that, however he was called upon to assume full political power after China's invasion of Tibet Eventually the Chinese invaded Tibet. The issue with the Chinese invading Tibet did not get any better, eventually the Dalai Lama was forced to escape into exile. To this very day, he has no returned to Tibet, but hopes to return one day. This film may not have been all too interesting in the very beginning, it shifts towards the middle and sheds light on the troublesome situation between the nations of Tibet and China, how things came to be, and Tibet is still fighting to claim their independence from China.
The Dalai Lama is a very important Buddhist monk in the country of Tibet and is seen as a very important religious leader all of the world. The film touches on quite a few Buddhist teachings. In the film you will see young Kundun being taught the basic teachings of Buddhism. For instance, young Kundun was being asked to recite the three jewels, which are the three things that Buddhists take refuge in, and look toward for guidance. "The daily observance of formally taking refuge in these "three jewels"-the Buddha, the dharma, and the sangha-is regarded by many as being the closest thing to a Buddhist "creed" and is regarded as the definitive act that makes someone a "Buddhist. (Brodd, pg. 180)" The Dalai Lama is a very important religious leader in the sense that he represents ass Buddhists, their teachings, and their way of life, and is seen in such a way because the Dalai Lama is believed to be the Buddha of Compassion. In the opening of the film, you see colorful art, which turns out to be sand, which is known as a mandala. "While mandalas are used in Hinduism, where they also function as cosmological diagrams used for meditation, some Buddhists utilize them in unique ways. (Brodd, pg. 189)." Although the Dalai Lama is not in his hoe country of Tibet, he continues to represent the nation of Tibet and its people and the prime example of compassion.

Works Cited
Brodd, Jeffrey, Layne Little, Bradley Nystrom, Robert Platzner, Richard Shek, and Erin Stiles.
"Buddhism." Invitation to World Religions. New York, NY: Oxford UP, 2013. 143-209. Print.
July 2, 2014
In 1937, in a remote area of Tibet closes to the chinese border, a two year old child identified as the reincarnation of Dalai Lama, the compassionate Buddha. Two year later, the child is brought to Lhasa where h is schooled as a monk and as head of state amidst the color and pageantry of Tibetan culture. The films follow him into adulthood: when he is fourteenth, the Chinese invade Tibet and he is forced into a shaky coalition government, he travels to China to meet Mao; and finally ill and under siege, he flees to India. Throughout, he has vision of his people slaughter under chinese rule.The movie relate to world religion because they are distinguished sects of people. They believe in incarnate like when they came to his village on the border of Tibet and China to see in the child wa the reincarnation of Dalai Lama"Kundun". Kundun was compassionate and he spread the love and rule his country with compassion and he was nonviolent which is part of is part of the Noble Eightfold Path. The Tibets was kind; honest open and cheerful in this movie and when china took over the tibet response but look for guidance from Dalai Lama and listen to what the china so they want hurt them; they remain loyal to the buddhist teacher of nonviolence and no killing, one of the Noble Eightfold Path which is the Right action.The Tibets devotion to the buddhist religion pervades their every thought and action in this movie. Another example of the Noble Eightfold Path was the right to speech was when he met with the chairman Mao and he later threatened his life. Dalia advise nonviolence; means cooperation when possible, resistance when not, what does that mean when you want innocent people not to die and want everybody to live. When you resist it only cause destruction and war and lot of life lost represent represent the Five Precepts and then The Noble EightFold Path. The Film displays the characteristics of Buddhism because the Tibets and Kundun showed peace and nonviolence which is the basis of the Karma, The Noble EightFold and the Five Precepts.
April 13, 2014
This movie was based around the early account of the 14th Dalai Lama, but he is simply a vessel for a larger life or spirit that is continuing through centuries. In the beginning of the movie the little boy is given a series of test. He proves to them that he is the fourteenth reincarnation of the Buddha of love and compassion. The movie only follows the character until about 1959, when the occupying Chinese crushed a Tibetan revolt, forcing the political and a spiritual leader to flee to India. This film provides a deep spirituality but denies the Dalai Lama humanity. In this movie Kundun is seen as being chosen by fate to become this great man, so that when one dies another can be born. At the age of 2 he was found by a wandering group of religious men. I believe that this movie relates to world religion because it has to do with eternal life. This movie shows how life could be eternal because the Dalai Lama continues to be born again after one has died. This movie also shows how there is a young boy growing up with a very heavy burden and many of his followers continue to tell him that he will soon have great responsibility. This movie shows the audience how much courage it takes to adhere to the Buddhist principle of nonviolence which can be hard at times and this also relates to world religion because one aspect of religion is being able to do things without being violent and the Dalai Lama was able to remain peaceful throughout everything that happened to him.
April 13, 2014
Kundun is the spiritual leader of Tibet, culminating when a young boy is able to identify the things that belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama. He is the 14th Dalai Lama and also able reads a letter from the 13th Dalai Lama prophesying that religion in Tibet will be destroyed by China and his followers ask him for help. Because they believe that Kundun is the fourteenth reincarnation of Buddha and he must know what to do to save their country. The first half hour of "Kundun" is at its best when conveying Kundun's childhood as he is taken from his humble village to the Holy City of Lhasa where he brings in forbidden treasures. Kundun keeps forgetting he's the Dalai Lama and he has a responsibility on him. He is the protector of his country including the 5,000 soldiers who guard it. His followers ask him for the solution and how they should protect their country, he always says, "But I am only a boy," "What can I do?". Later his spiritual guides convince him that he is the Dalai Lama and, therefore, must know what course of action to take. Kundun movie would relate to world religion because Kundun was the 14th Dalai Lama and he was the reincarnation of Buddha and in Buddhism people consider Buddha a great religious leader. He achieved enlightenment and showed his people ways of meditation. Through meditation he provided them a way to achieve a peace of mind.
April 13, 2014
Kundun takes place in Tibet during the year of 1937, shortly after the most recent Dalai Lama had passed away. Since the passing of the 13th Dalai Lama, monks are in search to find the next leader, whom they believe is a young boy. The young boy at the beginning of the film is put to the test from a variety of items that did and didn't belong to the last Dalai Lama. He is asked to pick out objects that belonged to the previous Dalai Lama and set them to the side, in which he successful does. Hence a sign to the monks that there leadership has been reincarnated into the young boy.

Kundun is a film that depicts when the communist country of China invades Tibet to enforce a communist government in a peaceful nation of Tibet. In order to save his life the Dalai Lama must flee to India to make sure he survives. Originally the Dalai Lama travels to China to meet with Chairman Mao Zi Dong, in hope that they would be able to understand each other.

This film reminds me of many ways of how World Religions are so similar. There have been so many instances where religions leadership individuals are sought after by governments. When the opposition gets scared of being overpower or conquered they turn to violence a lot of the time. For some reason violence is used as a power mechanism to show all the strength that one man has if you fail to obey them. The Dalai Lama and his teachings were seen as a threat to China, Chairman Mao wanted a united power of religious power that he would control in Mainland China, and Tibet was to join it one way or another.

Another way this movie relates to World Religions is spiritual aspect it contains. The monks are in search for the next Dalai Lama. They rely upon being guided spiritually to finding the next individual to lead a population of followers to living a life in tune with His teachings. Every religion has a spiritual aspect to it. They receive divine guidance, answers to personal prayers etc all by using their spiritual part to their body and mind. There must be a higher power to guide us.
February 23, 2014
I actually enjoyed watching "Kundun" more than Scorsese's other epic look at a religious leader, "The Last Temptation of Christ". Nothing against that film, but there is something interesting about the Dalai Lama to me...specifically the 14th Dalai Lama (who is still the current Lama), being that he has lived in exile for so long. I may be an atheist, but I do dig elements of Buddhism, specifically the whole living in complete peace thing. I'm pretty much a pascifist myself. Scorsese lends the beautiful imagery, while Melissa Mathison provides the story (as well as the passion for telling the story), and the music only helps tie it all together. It may not be a masterpiece or the best film in Scorsese's canon, but it was an enjoyable bio-pic about an interesting figure in history up through today.
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