• As just a film, it’s a fine effort, certainly in the archives, handsomely mounted with some nice photography and soft elliptical editing that matches material. However, as a Scorsese film—it’s a disappointment. It seems aggressively mediocre in comparison with the majority of his body of work. To add to that- when you also throw in that this is the only pairing between Scorsese and the great DP Roger Deakins, it features a genius score from Philip Glass, production designer Dante Ferretti and editor Thelma Schoonmaker—it can’t be seen as anything but an artistic disappointment
  • I mentioned it above- but pleasing, quiet elliptical editing
  • Strong use of color- yellows and reds
Dante Ferretti’s ornate production design work here
  • Wall-art photography in a few shots—sumptuous shots – one with bodies in a long shot in front of a lake
wall-art landscape work
  • Another in a quick surrealism sequences with a sea of red robes (and men in them) shot- a stunner
a magnificent shot here
  • I’m not sure why Scorsese’s direction is uncharacteristically lacking in cinematic energy. Is it the reverence for the subject matter? If that’s the case it’s just a poor choice in project. Regardless, it’s his worst film since Boxcar Bertha (his only unarchiveable film) in 1972 and again, the only one that I can’t really tell Scorsese directed. The direction is competent (could’ve been directed by Ron Howard or Richard Attenborough
Scorsese and Deakins absolutely now how to set a frame- but images like this are few and far between in Kundun sadly
  • The sand quilt formal tool thing doesn’t work
  • With this in 1997 and Bringing out the Dead in 1999 it does feel like the changing of the guard a little bit with PT Anderson making masterpieces (Boogie Nights and Magnolia in the same years) even if Scorsese would bounce back in the 21st century with a bunch of brilliant films
  • Recommend- not in the top 10 of 1997