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Kundun film review


Kundun is a marvellous film to see; the true story of the Dalai Lama and the tragedy that unfolded in Tibet. In some senses it is quite unique in that there is little in the sense of on screen action. However in its simplicity lies its power. You really feel you are watching a real life event as it really happened, quite rare for a film.


Despite its theme it avoids any unnatural sentimentality or proselytising of the Tibetan cause. It merely tells the absorbing story; you become drawn in to the unfolding history and can only feel great sympathy with the Tibetan people.


There is a great scene when the Dalai Lama goes to visit Chairmen Mao. Initially Mao is very charming talking about the common goals of socialism and Buddhism. But at the end his tone changes, slipping in his wholly negative view of religion - using Marx’s quote “religion is the opiate of the people” the Dalai Lama is then aware of what he is up against but like in many instances, merely maintains a dignified silence. This prayerful silence is invoked many times and leaves a very powerful impression. More powerful than the most dazzling speech could have been. The director Martin Scorsese said making the film was almost like a prayer. Watching the film was in many respects, quite meditative, enhanced by the beautiful soundtrack. However it also offers a unique insight into Tibetan culture and the Buddhist religion, and is a powerful condemnation of the political systems that allowed this event to occur.


View: Biography Dalai Lama


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