Movie review: "Unmistaken Child"

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

With so many documentary filmmakers wearing their agendas on their sleeves, it's sort of refreshing to find a film like Unmistaken Child, in which director Nati Baratz acts as a genuinely passive observer to the story of her film.

It follows Tenzin Zopa, a young Buddhist follower in Nepal who personally served the venerable Lama Konchog for two decades, after his master dies and he's tasked with finding the small child who holds the Lama's reincarnated soul.

Tenzin is given some clues of where to look from astrology charts and a reading of the ashes in the Lama's funeral pyre, but ultimately he must rely on his own knowledge of the late master and, most importantly, on his remarkable religious faith.

The simply affecting scenes of Tenzin growing into his task, also his interactions with the child that's eventually chosen, benefit most from Baratz's old school, fly-on-the-wall approach. In some areas, however, it would've been nice to have additional information for context, and in others, a small taste of skepticism may have benefited both subjects and viewers.

"Unmistaken Child"

Screens Oct. 9 at the Wexner Center

Grade: B