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
In the scene where Heinrich confronts Ngawang, the director did not tell BD Wong the script called for Brad Pitt to throw him into the dirt; Wong's reaction is completely authentic. See more »
When Harrer demonstrates abseiling (rappelling) in Lhasa, he uses a modern figure of eight abseiling device. In those days one used the "Dülfer" method or the "Karabiner-sitz" method. 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 »
Reaching the Summit of Human Conscience and Consciousness
This is a panoramic film exploring the wilderness of Tibet through the consciousness of an arrogant Austrian climber (Brat Pitt). As Pitt challenges Nanga Parbet, the ninth highest mountain in the world and one of the hardest to climb, the political chaos of late 1930's and 1940's, and his own demons, the nature of mankind is revealed as layers of civilization are peeled to reveal an inner self paradoxically more powerful and yet more vulnerable to the ebb and flow of inhumanity. His own philosophical journey is a reflection of political machinations of the time, the ontogeny recapitulating phylogenetic change of western civilization resulting in a complex modern world forever coiled for violence and warfare.
This film has a European pace unsuitable for those addicted to action figure movies with huge budgets and high body counts. I recommend it as a "good view" similar to a good read.
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