In Search Of Kundun With Martin Scorsese

  • 1999
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Documentary

A cinema buff's treat. This companion piece to Martin Scorcese's KUNDUN from director Michael Henry Wilson starts off on a pedestrian note, but builds enough momentum to enrich one's understanding of Tibetan history, the Dalai Lama's teachings and Scorsese's specific cinematic goals. At the end of 1996, the director of RAGING BULL and GOODFELLAS returns...read more

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Reviewed by Sandra Contreras
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A cinema buff's treat. This companion piece to Martin Scorcese's KUNDUN from director Michael Henry Wilson starts off on a pedestrian note, but builds enough momentum to enrich one's understanding of Tibetan history, the Dalai Lama's teachings and

Scorsese's specific cinematic goals. At the end of 1996, the director of RAGING BULL and GOODFELLAS returns to the Moroccan desert where, ten years earlier, he filmed THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. This time, he's making a film about the Dalai Lama of Tibet. It's fascinating to see Scorsese at

work, directing actors, setting up shots and generally talking about his creative process, even if his mock-whining about directing horses and KUNDUN turning into a Western seem contrived for the camera. Scorsese relates how his introduction to Tibet was through documentary images from the feature

film STORM OVER TIBET, and we see how closely the director hews to the available archival footage of the young Dalai Lama and the colorful processions held before the 1959 Chinese invasion. The alacrity with which Scorsese refers to specific shots from old films like FORTY GUNS and KING OF KINGS

reveal that his true love lies with cinema itself, rather than the Tibetan cause, and he admits as much. Scorsese tells us that the only choice humanity can make is love and compassion, but what really resonates are the voices of the Tibetans involved in the production whose testimonies fully

engage you in their country's plight. Yet the oddly reverential way in which Scorsese mouths the dialogue to Melissa Mathison's script reveals his own spiritual connection to the medium, and shows why he was the perfect choice for this seemingly incongruous material. Just as KUNDUN largely

achieves its goal of "preserving an impression" of a disappearing culture, this documentary preserves an impression of a master filmmaker at work.

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  • Released: 1999
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A cinema buff's treat. This companion piece to Martin Scorcese's KUNDUN from director Michael Henry Wilson starts off on a pedestrian note, but builds enough momentum to enrich one's understanding of Tibetan history, the Dalai Lama's teachings and Scorses… (more)

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