Contemporary World Cinema | 2016 | 95 minutes
Stranger Says: This gorgeously shot, touching documentary by director Moon Chang-yong follows the story of Padma Angdu, an adorable young boy who lives in northern India and is believed to be a reincarnated lama from Tibet, aka Rinpoche. As such, it’s expected that his disciples will fetch him to live in their monastery, but as the years go by, young Rinpoche’s hope begins to fade. His aging teacher, Urgyan Rickzen, refuses to give up, however, and their intimate bond keeps both of them going, even against seemingly insurmountable odds.
SIFF Says:Padma Angdu is no ordinary boy. In his past life he was a revered Buddhist teacher. Now he is a young child who must learn from Buddhist teachers to prepare his ability to pass on the wisdom from his past incarnations. A village doctor in the isolated highlands of northern India has been working to prepare the young master, but he is not a Buddhist teacher and feels that the boy needs a true master to reach his full potential. Tibet, the center of Buddhist faith and Angdu’s homeland, is far from their village, and the conflict with China makes the thought of a trip extremely dangerous. Despite the dangers, Angdu and his mentor set out on foot toward Tibet, joined by ruminations of friendship and the nature of the world. Documentarians Chang-Yong Moon and Jin Jeon followed the pair for eight years and have crafted a deeply moving portrait of the friendship between teacher and student as well as the strength of homeland to the Tibetan people. With a vérité narrative approach that finds a concentrated serenity even in times of conflict, this extraordinary documentary crescendos towards its moving final frames.
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