Seven Years in Tibet
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

Yes. Seven Years in Tibet is based on the book Sieben Jahre in Tibet. Mein Leben am Hofe des Dalai Lama (1952) written by Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer recounting his experiences in Tibet during WWII and just before the Chinese invasion in 1950.

Nanga Parbat is a mountain in the Himalayan mountain range, which basically separates China and Tibet from India and Pakistan. Nanga Parbat is on the western end of the range. It is the ninth highest mountain in the world and is considered one of the most dangerous to climb, hence it's Sanskrit name nanga meaning 'naked' and parvata meaning 'mountain'. It is also known as the 'Killer Mountain'.

Heinrich Harrer [1912-2006] and the 14th Dalai Lama [b.1935] first met in 1947, when the Dalai Lama was 12 years old and Harrer was 35.

The 14th Dalai Lama's birth name is Lhamo Dondrub. He was selected to become the 14th Dalai Lama when he was two years old but was not formally enthroned until he was 15 years old, the age of majority.

Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt) descended Nanga Parbat in British India and was arrested because Britain had declared war on Germany and any German nationals were considered "Enemy Aliens". Consequently, Heinrich was sent to Dehra Dun prison camp.

How does the movie end?

Tibet surrenders to China. Worried about the safety of the Dalai Lama (Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk), Harrer tries to convince him to flee Tibet, but the Dalai Lama refuses to go. 'How can I help people if I run away from them?' he asks. 'What kind of leader would I be?' Instead, the Dalai Lama convinces Harrer to return to Austria and be a father to his son, whom Harrer has never met, but requests that he stay long enough to see the Dalai Lama's enthronement now that he has reached the age of majority (15). After saying goodbye to Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis), who chooses to remain in Tibet with his wife Pema Lhaki (Lhakpa Tsamchoe), Harrer pays a final visit to the Dalai Lama, who presents him with the music box as a parting gift. Harrer arrives back in Austria and goes immediately to visit his ex-wife Ingrid (Ingeborga Dapkunaite) and his son Rolf, but Rolf refuses to see him. Harrer leaves Rolf with the music box and walks away. The final scene shows Heinrich and Rolf climbing a mountain together. This is followed by an epilogue that reads: 'One million Tibetans have died as a result of the Chinese occupation of Tibet. Six thousand monasteries were destroyed. In 1959, the Dalai Lama was forced to flee to India. He still lives there today, trying to promote a peaceful resolution with the Chinese. In 1989, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Heinrich Harrer and the Dalai Lama remain friends to this day.'

It plays 'Clair de lune' [Moonlight] from the piano Suite bergamasque, written by French composer Claude Debussy in 1890 and first published in 1905.

Page last updated by Bogong-the-Magnificent, 3 years ago
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