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.
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 his son's refusal to communicate. But nothing will prepare him for the devastation about to descend when Communist China decides to attack, leading to the deaths of over 1 million Tibetans, destruction of over 6000 monasteries, and betrayal from their very own people.
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October 15, 2016 at 10:29 AM