Docu "Unmistaken Child" chronicles Nepalese monk Tenzin Zopa's lengthy search for the new embodiment of Geshe Lama Konchog, a revered rinpoche who died in 2001.

Ever wonder how reincarnations of deceased Buddhist masters are found and recognized? Docu “Unmistaken Child” chronicles Nepalese monk Tenzin Zopa’s lengthy search for the new embodiment of Geshe Lama Konchog, a revered rinpoche who died in 2001. Observing rather than explaining ancient traditions, Israeli helmer Nati Baratz’s first feature-length project inspires as many questions as it answers, but his fascinating insider’s perspective might find niche theatrical play before its broadcast dates.

After signs at “Geshe-La’s” cremation pyre indicate an imminent reincarnation, senior lamas in India consult Taiwanese astrologers and learn there’s a high probability that the baby’s father’s name starts with an A and that he will come from a place beginning with TS. Those clues take 28-year-old Zopa to a long stint in Nepal’s spectacular Tsum Valley, where he inspects an array of runny-nosed tots to see if they recognize his master’s rosary. While the pic is ostensibly about the identification and education of a remarkable child, it also portrays hardworking Zopa’s evolution from shy disciple to resourceful teacher. Leading a modest tech package, low-tech DV lensing captures the beauty in wild nature and elaborate Buddhist rites and rituals.

The Unmistaken Child

Israel

Production

A Samsara Films, Alma Films production, with support from ARTE France, ITVS Intl., BBC Storyville, Channel 8 -- Noga Communications; YLE, DRTV, New Israeli Fund for Cinema and Television. (International sales: Fortissimo, Amsterdam.) Produced by Arik Bernstein, Ilil Alexander, Nati Baratz. Directed by Nati Baratz. Written by Baratz, Ilil Alexander, Ron Goldman.

Crew

Camera (DV to 35mm), Yaron Orbach; editor, Goldman; music, Cyril Morin. Reviewed on DVD, Chicago, Dec. 1, 2008. (In Toronto, Haifa, Dubai film festivals.) Original title: Ha-Gilgul. English, Tibetan, Nepali, Hindi, Taiwanese dialogue. Running time: 104 MIN.

With

Tenzin Zopa, Tenzin Ngodrup, the Dalai Lama.

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