Seven Years in Tibet
- 2 hr 16 min
Seven Years in Tibet is an epic adaptation of the book of the same name by Heinrich Harrer, which details Harrer's life during World War II through to the invasion of Tibet by the Chinese. The 1997 movie was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and was shot on location in Argentina, Nepal and a small amount of secret filming in Tibet. Upon its release the movie was controversial because of Harrer's political views at the time of World War II; the film also prompted the Chinese government to condemn it because of supposed bias against Chinese military characters. The movie opens with Heinrich Harrer, played by Brad Pitt arriving at the train station in the Austrian city of Graz to embark on a mountaineering trip to the Himalaya's. Harrer leaves his pregnant wife to take the trip led by Peter Aufschnaiter to northern India. While the mountaineering group are in the Himalaya's World War II begins and Harrer and the rest of the Austrian group are arrested by the ruling British because they have German citizenship. Remaining in British custody from 1939 to 1944 the group eventually escape and split up to make their way out of India; Harrer and Aufscnaiter, played by David Thewlis join together and make their way to Tibet. Upon arriving in Tibet the two Austrians are introduced to the Dali Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet; Harrer and the Dali Lama form a friendship and Harrer becomes a tutor teaching the religious leader about western culture. Harrer remains in Tibet throughout the post World War II period until the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950. Following the 1950 invasion Harrer finally makes his way back to Europe in 1951 to meet his son Rolf, who he has never met. The 136 minute movie is known for the beautiful photography, the majority of which was filmed in Argentina. The U.S., U.K., French and Argentinian co-production saw the main production staff and actors banned from China for their roles in the film.