This is one of the finest films made along Buddhism themes that we have even to this day. The film tells two parallel stories, that of the search for a reincarnated lama, and a retelling of the quest for Awakening from the traditional Buddha story.
The film opens with Lama Norbu coming to Seattle in Washington State, America, in search of his departed teacher Lama Dorje who may have been reborn in Western and non-Buddhist family as Jesse Conrad.
The Lama gives a book to Jesse and so Siddhartha’s story begins, and the stories of the young boy Jesse and the young Siddhartha start to unfold. Later we find there are two other candidates for the reincarnation, a young street performer in Kathmandu, and a young girl Gīta, whose family were supporters of the Lama.
The film is wonderfully shot, and very well told and engages throughout, but one of the main highlights of the film is when the three children are seemingly witness to the Bodhisatta’s struggle with Māra under the Bodhi Tree.
The film was made in 1993 by Bernardo Bertolucci and has Keanu Reeves playing Siddhartha in one of the best reconstructions of the story of the Prince yet told; the story of the children is very sensitively told also, and the film deserves anyone’s time.