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Movie review of Unmistaken Child a film of Buddhist Tibet

Updated on June 21, 2010

Unmistaken Child

The movie Unmistaken Child is a documentary that follows a Tibetan monk, Tenzin Zopa, on his quest to find the reincarnation of his teacher, Lama Konchog. The movie lets us see the cremation of the Lama, and the divination that is made to determine the likely location of the reincarnation. It is really a rare thing that a movie crew would be allowed to film these things, and it is a credit not only to the Tibetan people, but to the film makers as well.

From this point we follow Tenzin Zopa on a pilgrimage to find the reincarnated Lama, which he does. We get a privileged glimpse into remote mountain villages and the people who live in them. One villager says: "We miss him (the Lama) so please ask the high Lamas to look for him - so we can see him again." As the movie progresses the foretold signs unfold pointing to a certain boy, and are confirmed by that boy; he is the actual reincarnation of the previous Lama: whether through actual fact or cultural identification. To witness all the details as they unfold is dramatic; from the obvious little boyness of the new Lama, to the esteem that the devotees hold him in, to the assuredness that he is in fact the reincarnation as evidenced by the Dalai Lama himself. It is a rewarding, and for me, otherworldly experience to get to see all this unfold.

I watched to movie at my parents' house, and my Dad said it was an "amazing" movie. It really was, as the Tibetans were so sharing of themselves, their culture and faith; letting us in on traditions and ceremonies that we non-Tibetans wouldn't have seen otherwise.

Overall I though it was a beautifully shot movie with a very devoted person, the monk Tenzin Zopa, at its core.  It's great to see images of Buddhist in one of their cultural homelands, and to witness the graceful change of spiritual leadership that is the crux of the film.

It gets a very good rating from me, and I'd see it again.

Unmistaken Child

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