Martin Scorsese directs this epic based on the life of the present day Dalai Lama. In 1937 a monk roaming in Tibet proclaims that the two-year-old son of a rural family near the Chinese border is 'Kundun' - the reincarnation of the Buddha of Compassion, and next in line as Dalai Lama. The new Lama is instructed as to his new responsibilities, and moves to Lhasa, the capital. However, after being invested on his eighteenth birthday, the Lama is forced to reject a claim by China on Tibet. When China invades, the Lama retreats to a monastery for his own protection, but the Communists still pose a threat to both him and his country.