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
While it take some time to get moving, this is a truly captivating film. It's about redemption and pain. It's about true events which cast the Tibetan culture against the Chinese's land grab. We have the Buddhists on the one hand, and the godless hordes on the other. The die is cast and all we can do is watch. This is a movie about a selfish character and his comrade who find respite in the Himalaya's in the temple of the Dalai Lama. The gentleness and trust of the people is betrayed by one of them but it really wouldn't have mattered. There is a nice relationship developed between the young Lama and Brad Pitt's selfish, pig headed Westerner. Apparently there are elements of truth to this story. One feels so helpless in a world like this with so little one can do. It finally gets to what the Buddhists preach. Absolute dedication to their beliefs down to the last person.
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