Kundun script
Kundun (1997)
Synopsis: Kundun is a 1997 epic biographical film written by Melissa Mathison and directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the life and writings of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, the exiled political and spiritual leader of Tibet. Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong, a grandnephew of the Dalai Lama, stars as the adult Dalai Lama, while Tencho Gyalpo, a niece of the Dalai Lama, appears as the Dalai Lama's mother.

CLOSE on the face of a sleeping child: a boy, LHAMO

DHONDRUP, age two and one-half years. He is dreaming. He

is about to wake up.

Today, his life will change.

We stay on the boy's face until, slowly, his eyes open -

beautiful, dark, eyes.

INT. TIBETAN PEASANT HOME, KITCHEN DAWN (1937)

The MOTHER walks past the boy, her woolen skirt swaying in

the rosy light. A seven year-old brother - LOBSANG SAMTEN -

and a teenage sister - TSERING DOLMA - share Lhamo's kitchen

mattress. Lhamo looks at them, and then he turns to see the

heavy felt boots of his FATHER, as the man walks through the

room and out the door. Lhamo finds the kind face of his

MOTHER. She is looking at him.

EXT. COURTYARD DAWN

The boy walks across the stone courtyard as we hear the

sounds of this country morning: the snorting of horses,

clucking of hens, a command from the Father as the man feeds

the animals.

The boy scratches, he pees. He sees his Mother on the roof.

She is a silhouette against the dawn, as she feeds cedar and

yak chips into the incense burner - sending white, curly

smoke up, to circle the prayer flag and its clusters of

printed mantras.

We pull back as the spotted dog begins to bark.

Lhamo's house is the house in the vision.

INT. KITCHEN MORNING

It is a good day. There is cheese for breakfast.

Lhamo's Father sits on a cushion at the head of a low table.

Fresh bread appears, yogurt, roasted barley (tsampa).

Lhamo pushes at his Father.

LHAMO:

Me.

FATHER:

No. This must stop.

LHAMO:

Me. Here.

FATHER:

I am the father. You sit there.

LHAMO:

Me here.

MOTHER:

What is the harm?

FATHER:

He will grow up all wrong.

Only you can serve him,

only you can wash his bowl.

Too tidy, everything just so.

He must know his place.

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Melissa Mathison

Melissa Marie Mathison was an American film and television screenwriter and an activist for Tibetan freedom. more…

All Melissa Mathison scripts | Melissa Mathison Books

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