Cast out of his monastery and displaced in his reincarnation, a Ladakhi boy of noble birth must go in search of his past life in Tibet, with the help and sacrifice of his aging godfather.
Eight years of filming captures an unparalleled story of unconditional love between a young Rinpoche, Padma Angdu, and his elderly guardian monk and mentor, Urgain. Set in the barren land of Ladakh, cherub-faced Padma Angdu was recognized as a reincarnate at age 6 but despite the noble calling is expelled from his home monastery. With only the love of his guardian to guide him, they set out on a journey to find a new monastic community for Angdu that will take them across Nepal, skirt Tibet and traverse India in search of a home. Without any news from the disciples of his former monastery in Tibet, amid growing doubts, the soon-to-be teenage Rinpoche and his aging teacher embark on an epic journey towards Tibet, in search of an answer.
The journey of a noble boy in search of his place in the world
A seemingly ordinary boy discovers he is the highest ranking Tibetan monk reincarnated from a past, giving him the noble title of Rinpoche. However, young Padma Angdu is displaced in his reincarnation and hence separated from his original monastery and disciples. In contrast to the privileged life that such a noble child could have, surrounded by assistants inside a beautiful monastery, Padma Angdu’s ordination in his second life brings about an unexpected turn of events.
Unlike other stories of this kind, ours is one of struggle from obscurity, where the young impoverished Rinpoche must deal with understanding his reincarnation without privilege. The fact that he was born in Ladakh during the circumstances of bordering Tibet’s sociopolitical unrest, and hence in the ‘wrong place’ leads to his banishment from a local monastery in Ladakh. With no one but his godfather Urgain Rigzin, who follows suit regardless of having dedicated his whole life to this monastery, the two spend their days in a small cottage, waiting for Rinpoche’s disciples from Tibet to find him, as is usually the case with sought-after reincarnates.
Set in nature’s astounding beauty in the barren land of Ladakh, we follow two characters caught between a rock and a hard place. With exclusive access and long-term filming of eight years, we capture their ‘lived’ moments in an honest light. As circumstances change over the years, we witness a boy growing up and entering into adolescence, filled with questions around his identity. As Urgain compromises his own beliefs to bring back the dignity and recognition of this young Rinpoche, he even gives up his job as the only doctor in the region.
After years pass by, seeds of doubt begin to surface amongst the villagers in his community. With expectations and added pressure, the Rinpoche finally embarks on a journey across India to seek out a monastery, before it becomes too late. The universal truths of unconditional love, sacrifice, aging, adolescence, and identity crisis are ‘re-lived’ through this intimate film.
Grand Prix Winner, Generations, Berlin
"A charmingly intimate portrait that ultimately assumes epic-journey proportions, this deserving crowd-pleaser should benefit from Western art-house audiences’ fondness for all things Tibetan Buddhist." Dennis Harvey, Variety
Please direct all press inquiries to Elizabeth Sheldon.
Additional Film Info:
Director: Jin Jeon, Moon Chang-yong
Subjects: Arts & Culture, Religious Studies, Psychology, Buddhism, Eastern Philosophy
Genres: Documentary, Buddhist
Language: Ladakhi, Hindi with English subtitles
Length: 105 mins.