After the death of 11 climbers, Austrian Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt) decides to add glory to his country and to the German pride by climbing Nanga Parbat in British India, and leaves his expectant wife behind. Egoist and a loner, he does not get along with others on his team - but must bend to their wishes after bad weather threatens them. Then WWII breaks out, they are arrested and lodged in Dehra Dun's P.O.W. Camp. He attempts to break out in vain several times, but finally does succeed along with Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis), and end up in the holy city of Lhasa - a place banned to foreigners. They are provided food and shelter, and Peter ends up marrying a tailor, Pema Lhaki, while Heinrich befriends the Dalai Lama. He meets regularly to satiate the child's curiosity about the world, including Jack the Ripper and 'yellow hair'; in return he is exposed to teachings of Lord Buddha and even constructs a movie theater, while getting news of the end of the war; his divorce; and ... Written by
Director Jean-Jacques Annaud sent a team to Tibet to secretly film footage. About 20 minutes of it made it into the finished film. This was kept secret even after the film's premiere and not known until summer 1999. See more »
When Heinrich Harrer uses a globe to explain time zones to the young Dalai Lama, he spins the globe the wrong way (clockwise - from East to West), and says "So if the sun is just rising in Lhasa, that means it is just setting in New York City, perhaps." But the Earth spins counterclockwise, and Harrer should have spun the globe the other way, saying "So if the sun is already setting in Lhasa, that means it is just rising in New York City, perhaps." Another possible correct statement would be to say "So if the sun is just rising in Lhasa, that means it is just setting in New York City yesterday, perhaps." See more »
Why must you be this way? Why, why is there always a problem? It's a good question. Do you want to go home? Do you want to turn around?
Would that make... It's the Himalayas! How long have I been talking about the Himalayas? How long?
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As the end credits roll, a view of the mountains of Tibet is seen. See more »
Seven Years in Tibet is to the true story what the Sound of Music is to Maria Von Trapp's autobiography. Maria writes in the second volume of her autobiography that she wanted to sue the film makers, and I wonder whether Heinrich feels the same. I thought it was an excellent film that did a great job of conveying accurately what Lhasa looks like, having earlier seen a book of photographs from British expeditions around 1910. And I am glad it generated some sympathy for the plight of the Tibetans. But having since read Heinrich's autobiography, it appears that virtually every event in the movie was made up, including the business with the watch. I don't understand why, because the true story was fascinating, with lots of drama. What is wrong with the minds and egos of people in Hollywood? If they want to completely distort the original facts, don't call it non-fiction.
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