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Review: The Unmistaken Child

A fascinating, if disturbing, look at how the Dalai Lama's enlightened sausage is made
By LANCE GOULD  |  July 15, 2009
3.0 3.0 Stars


After the 2001 death of Tibetan Buddhist master Lama Konchog, his disciple Tenzin Zopa is charged with tracking down his reincarnation. Despite hints from his superiors' divinations — among them that his master's reincarnation will be found in a one-to-one-and-a-half-year-old rinpoche, or "precious one" — the task is equivalent to finding you-know-what in a Himalayan haystack.

Israeli documentarian Nati Baratz trails Zopa on his four-year sojourn through Nepal, Tibet, and India. It's a fascinating, if disturbing, look at how the Dalai Lama's enlightened sausage is made. As uplifting as the discovery of Konchog's reincarnation may be, it's mitigated by the peculiar hardships faced by the title four-year-old.

Reincarnated master or not, Baratz captures the quotidian joy of a little boy playing with a battery-operated crane — and the heartbreaking loneliness he faces when his parents are pressured to leave him in his new monastic home.

Related: Immaculate reception, China, Tibet, and the Olympics, Review: Thirst, More more >
  Topics: Reviews , Culture and Lifestyle, Religion, Dalai Lama,  More more >
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