An Unfortunate Fortune (1993)

Run Time - 67 min.  |   Countries - Mongolia   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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A "fortunate" one, in Mongolian parlance, is a "tulku" or reincarnate lama. For centuries, the majority religion in Mongolia has been a variant of Tibetan Buddhism, which has the custom of recognizing certain youths as being the reincarnations of various kinds of realized beings. In the west, we sometimes call these tulkus "living Buddhas." In this film, a young boy with no other outstanding characteristics has developed an unfortunate obsession with these lamas, and is bound and determined to be recognized as one. After all, from his point of view it is a really good deal: even if you haven't done a single outstanding thing, you get treated with enormous respect, get to wear fine clothes, and get the best food and housing available. In addition, people seem to excuse all kinds of bad behavior by incarnate lamas. One day a group of monks traveling in search of such a boy pass by his yurt and he runs after them, claiming to be just the sort of boy they're looking for. Unfortunately for him, they either don't notice him, or disagree with his opinion of himself. Whatever their reasons, he is ignored. As it is a hot day and he has run far while following them, he collapses from heat stroke. His loving mother takes him back to their yurt, and when he regains consciousness, he believes he has been recognized as a tulku and begins behaving just as he believes such people can and should behave, which is to say, he becomes abusively arrogant and demanding. Somehow, his long-suffering mother copes with this situation.