All the films from all the editions, including those subsequently removed, presently totalling 1177. An easy way of seeing how…
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.
Film #74 of Project 90
”I see a safe journey, I see a safe return.”
Martin Scorsese makes a biopic about a religious leader who has encouraged peace and non-violence all his life, now that’s a surprise. I still can’t find the connection between this one and Scorsese’s other films, is it the same old story of a lonely man who is struggling to restore balance to his own life? I don’t think so. First of all Kundun is a biopic full of historical and political references, it focuses on a very controversial issue (The Chinese government was so upset with the film that Scorsese was banned from ever entering China) and portrays a turbulent and pretty much chaotic period…
Viewed on DVD
When Kundun was released, it surprised many people, myself included.
Martin Scorsese, the man who gave us violent films like Goodfellas, Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Casino and Mean Streets, gives us the story of the Dalai Lama. The spiritual leader of the peaceful people of Tibet.
This is the duality of Martin Scorsese. He is a spiritual person, who at one point in his life studied to be a priest.
Kundun is a beautiful film. Cinematographer Roger Deakins, deservingly received an Oscar nomination for his work.
Unfortunately, Kundun is not Scorsese's best work.
The film suffers from a repetitive and sometimes dull script.
Given that this is a meeting of the formidable minds of Martin Scorsese, Philip Glass, and Roger Deakins (all of whom do fantastic work here, it should be said, as does production/costume designer Dante Ferretti and Thelma Schoonmaker), this really ought to be crazypants amazing, as opposed to "pretty good, but with a damn near transcendent finale" (that finale, incidentally, is when all three men finally work together in complete and total harmony). This never quite shakes the feeling of there being something holding this back from true greatness, with Scorsese's inability to truly understand the Dalai Lama like he did with Jesus being the most-likely (and often-stated) reason. Still, an aesthetic treat on all levels despite the DVD being shitty, and I get why Deakins recently called this his favorite of the films he's worked on (now, if Scorsese said that, one or both of my eyebrows would be raised).
Kundun is a prime example of brilliant filmmaking. Scorsese's direction is fantastic as always and Roger Deakins' cinematography is breathtakingly gorgeous. The films musical score is pretty great as well. So why such a low score? I simply couldn't bring myself to connect with any of the characters or their interactions. The story really didn't capture my attention either making it a bit of a chore to sit through. The run time certainly didn't help either. I have no problem with long movies and I definitely have no problem with long Scorsese movies (Casino is nearly 3 hours and it's one of my all time favorites), but this film just didn't hold my interest. So despite the fact that it is extremely well made, I give Kundun a 5/10.
It's not a bad movie by any means. But when you have Scorsese at the wheel with Roger Deakins and Philip Glass along for the ride the movie should be nothing short of remarkable.
Scorsese really throws his back into the Philip Glass score, but overall it was little too zen for me.
I know, I know. The master class of Scorsese, Deakins and Glass. Superlative. Superlative. I get it. I know I'm supposed to fall down at the feet of this "important film." I'm supposed to feel like this.
It was a pleasant experience that does not necessarily show that the Dalai Lama presented in the movie is shown as a human with the possibility of being the reincarnated Buddha.
Deakins + Glass combo is fappable material. Also, the second half is much more narratively focused and impactful.
La mise en scène Scorsesienne est comme toujours impeccable mais surprend beaucoup vis à vis de l'histoire qu'elle illustre, à savoir celle du quatorzième Dalaï Lama, de sa naissance à son exil du Tibet. Pour faire simple, je dirai que le seul et unique élément à m'avoir fait apprécier le film, c'est la réalisation. Le rythme est extrêmement bien soutenu de sorte à ce qu'on ai quasiment pas le temps de s'ennuyer malgré, je trouve, une superficialité scénaristique assez dérangeante.
En fait, je n'ai jamais vraiment pu m'identifier au personnage du Dalaï Lama ni de véritablement comprendre les enjeux qui l'entourent. J'ai eu l'impression de me retrouver devant un produit bridé (sans mauvais jeu de mot), sans véritable souffle épique…
I dint expect this kind of spiritual biography from martin. By watching this movie, we can say martin took a lot of efforts to make such movie with all its needed traditional values from a very very different curtural background from where he is... And we could able to understand how real Dalai Lama struggled to face a Giant communist army with his only weapon of Non Violence. Surely it needs a lot of guts. Cinematography was extraordinary and the Boy's acting was so smooth. Must watch one...
A biopic that's thematically rich and grand in scope and scale, but ultimately misses the mark with me for reasons that I can't quite put my finger on.
The photography, courtesy of Mr. Deakins, was absolutely gorgeous and the score by Philip Glass provided an interesting contrast to the subject matter but works uniquely and coherently with the film.
I enjoyed Kundun more than I expected to going in, and it's something I can imagine going up on a re-watch.
Deakins does outstanding work and Scorsese provides a steady hand, but it’s far too reverential and safe to save it from being a fairly rote biopic. I guess it had to be, a little, considering this is an American film with absolutely no American actors (or white people at all), but still, if Marty could make something like THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, he could have done something more with this.
Scorsese is one of the great modern American storytellers, which is why Kundun is an outlier in his filmography. Its narrative banality and disjointedness seems more the product of a Spielbergian "auteur". The drama is lazy and lacking in poignancy. This is thoroughly unriveting work from a man who makes compelling movies as effortlessly as you or I yawn. That said, Deakins' visuals accompanied with Glass' predictably flawless music make for their own beautiful and cosmic experience.
I think reading the Dalai Lama's book prior to seeing the film took away from the film a lot. Also, this movie falls into the trap of having way too many conclusions. Guess it's to be expected as Scorsese seems to hardly ever do conventional narrative structures. Last note, in some ways the film felt like a visual complementary piece to Lawrence of Arabia, that is to say, quite beautiful.
Every film that has ever been nominated for an Academy Award in any category. Enjoy!
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