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The Last Dalai Lama?

THE LAST DALAI LAMA? takes a fresh look at what is important for the 14th Dalai Lama in his 80s: The historic confrontation between Tibet and China; his influence in political, spiritual, and educational spheres; and his personal feelings on aging, dying and whether he will be the last Dalai Lama.

Director Mickey Lemle is an insider documentary maker. For people who remember his moving Ram Das: Fierce Grace or his 1993 doc, Compassion in Exile, you know that you will be getting an intimate look formed by impressive access. The Last Dalai Lama? takes a nostalgic look back on his life but is purely contemporary—and then it asks the hard questions about the future of a spiritual leader who follows a long tradition of reincarnation.

Moving back and forth between past and present with film of the young leader and the now 82 year-old, Lemle brings into focus the basic Buddhist tenet that nothing is permanent, and that the knowledge of impermanence is liberating. The film is enhanced by a beautiful original music score composed and performed by Philip Glass and Tibetan musician, Tenzin Choegyal.

The film includes an introduction to the Atlas of Emotions, commissioned by the Dalai Lama and developed by father and daughter Paul and Eve Ekman, who use behavioral science to map human feelings and their consequences.

The question of the title is presented in investigational documentary fashion: In the face of China’s potential to politicize the 15th Dalai Lama’s coming, how does the present Dalai Lama respond?

"There’s a lot to be said for really digging your subject, and in his documentary “The Last Dalai Lama?” Mickey Lemle gently captures something charming and warmly thoughtful about the exiled Tibetan leader."

Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times

"Mickey Lemle’s documentary... is both a primer on who the Dalai Lama is and the political reasons for why he may be the last."

Sherilyn Connelly, SF Weekly

"The more an audience member sees the beauty left in the Buddhist leader's wake, the more it becomes clear that his influence has the power to continue generations beyond his passing."

Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

Movie Info

Directed by Mickey Lemle
82 Minutes

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