Friday, September 11, 2009

Week of Sept. 11 to Sept. 17 (Mann)

What’s on at the Tropic
by Phil Mann

UNMISTAKEN CHILD is about a search to find the child who is the reincarnation of a deceased monk. It’s an incredible story.

Before I get started, I must offer full disclosure. I’m skeptical about religion. Personally, I think the Egyptians had it right, worshipping the Sun. But it is fascinating to see how caught up people get in their beliefs, whether it’s Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or… Buddhist.

There’s no question that the central character in this documentary film, a young man named Tenzin Zopa, deeply believes in the literal truth of reincarnation. He has spent almost his entire life as a disciple of the lama Geshe Lama Konchog, and when the lama passes away at 84, Zopa is lost. The lama was a revered figure who lived alone in a cave for decades, reportedly without food other than the nourishment that he could gather from the air. For background see

But then the Dalai Lama gives Zopa the mission of finding the child who is the reincarnation of his lost master. Nati Baratz, an Israeli filmmaker who has Buddhist leanings, was there in Nepal at the time, and somehow secured permission to follow Zopa on his quest. And he did so for four years, enabling us to watch as omens are read from the direction of smoke from the lama’s funeral pyre, a remote consultation takes place with a Taiwanese astrologer, and a long trek follows from village to village in the Nepalese Tsum Valley, until Zopa succeeds in his quest. The film has won awards all over, including Best Feature Documentary at the prestigious Full Frame Documentary Festival.

It’s beautiful. It’s fascinating. Maybe it’s even true.

Coming back down to Western earth, Friday and Saturday nights bring the lesbian comedian Dana Goldberg to the Tropic. She’s one of the five funniest lesbians in the country according to Curve magazine. I’ve always thought the Tropic was a great venue for stand-up. Let’s hope this starts a trend. Two shows only. Tickets are at, not at the Tropic box office.

The Saturday Kids matinee continues this week at 12:30pm with such delights as the Swan Princess and Hiawatha. It’s all free, for kids and accompanying adults, thanks to the sponsor, Southernmost Photography. This week there’s a special treat: a drawing for a free bicycle. No purchase necessary. Just be there and see a free movie. Now that’s Zen!

And coming up on Monday night for the weekly classic revival, is THE FALLEN IDOL (1948), directed by Carol Reed from a script by Graham Greene. They are, of course, the team that brought us The Third Man, which is better known, but according to the Village Voice, The Fallen Idol is a superior psychological drama. Long unavailable, it’s just been released in a newly restored print.

I hope that this, along with the still running JULIE AND JULIA and TAKING WOODSTOCK will keep you busy. Meanwhile, get ready for the long overdo opening of the new Peggy Dow Theater at the Tropic. This new fourth screen has been ready for projection for over a month, but the opening has been held up by some technical details. It might even be ready next week. I’ll let you know.

Full details and schedules at
Comments, please, to
[from Key West, the newspaper -]

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