film re­view

NOW Magazine - - MOVIES -

Be­cOM­INg WhO I Was (Moon ChangYong, Jeon Jin) is ev­ery­thing a doc­u­men­tary shouldn’t be – it’s un­fo­cused, over­long and ques­tion­ably in­dul­gent of its sub­jects, the child monk Angdu Padma and his men­tor and ser­vant Rigzin Ur­gain. (Angdu is be­lieved to be a Rin­poche – the lat­est in­car­na­tion of a long-dead monk – and Rigzin has ded­i­cated him­self to the care and spir­i­tual devel­op­ment of his for­mer mas­ter.) But it’s worth sit­ting through the film’s me­an­der­ing first hour – which ob­serves Angdu and Rigzin in their vil­lage in north­ern In­dia – to get to the gen­uinely pow­er­ful fi­nal move­ment, in which the pair un­der­take a long, dan­ger­ous jour­ney to a monastery in Ti­bet in the hope that Angdu will be able to re­claim his place there. And sud­denly Be­com­ing Who I Was feels stripped down to es­sen­tial mo­ments of un­der­stand­ing and feel­ing, as the wiz­ened Rigzin does his best to keep his young charge safe, com­fort­able and in­no­cent of the larger world; it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily val­i­date the choices co-di­rec­tors Moon and Jeon made be­fore­hand, but it does make their film worth watch­ing. 95 min. Sub­ti­tled. NNN (Nor­man Wilner)

Angdu (left) is thought to be the rein­car­na­tion of a long-dead monk.

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