Thursday, October 30, 2008

Seven Years in Tibet (1997) PG-13 - 4 Stars

Now this was a really great movie that I was surprised I had not heard of before until I found it on the "inner shelf" at Blockbuster. The cinematography is outstanding and I read some of it was filmed in secret in Tibet. The story is taken from memoir notes of Heinrich Harrer, a famed and very experienced mountain climber from Austria, who meets and becomes friends with the Dali Lama. Brad Pitt does and outstanding job portraying Heinrich.

In 1939, Heinrich Harrer (Brad pitt), headed an expedition to the Himalayan mountains to climb Nanga Parbat, one of the highest peaks. Against his pregnant wife's wishes, he set out for his climb leaving his friend behind to look after his wife. Instead he was taken as a prisoner of war for being on land under Allied forces. His holding area has to become stronger and stronger as Heinrich makes many attempts to escape. In a final attempt at freedom he and Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis), make their way to the Forbidden City in Tibet. As the two enter this forbidden city in disguise, they are quickly found out but offered shelter while they await the end of the war.

The Dalai Lama (Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk), is just a teenage boy even though he is the spiritual leader of his Buddhist nation. The boy quickly becomes fascinated in Heinrich and the two develop a friendship bond under the watchful eyes of those protecting him. Teaching the Dalai Lama about the world, Heinrich begins to think of his son and finding his way somehow back to him. Heinrich's son would be about the same age as the Dalai. An invasion from China leads to hundreds of deaths in Tibet that strangle hold continues there today.

TriStar Pictures
Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
Writer: Becky Johnston
Producers: John H. Williams, Iain Smith, Jean-Jacques Annaud
I viewed 9/08

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