In Seven Years in Tibet Austrian adventurer Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt) leaves his wife and his country to climb Himalyan peak Nanga Parbat with countryman Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis). But the pair find the wrong sort of exhilaration: an avalanche, followed by arrest and deportation to a Prisoner of War camp now that World War Two has started.
After three years, the two men escape and head for Northern India. Their trek ends months later in the forbidden Tibetan city of Lhasa where Peter finds love but Heinrich discovers his own marriage is dead and his son estranged. Dismayed and depressed, Heinrich’s life is changed by a meeting with Kundun, the young Dalai Lama (Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk), who offers wisdom, purpose and enlightenment. In return, Kundun wishes to learn about the West. So begins a friendship that must survive war, oppression and betrayal if both men are to follow their destiny.
Scorsese’s Kundun followed Pitt out of the blocks and his name saw Jean-Jacques Annaud’s tale relegated to the status of ‘the other Tibet movie’, an injustice to a visually stunning, occasionally affecting human story. The film’s key strength is in negotiating so many possible tripwires – accents, politics, religion – without giving way to absurdity (the French director did the same with Name of the Rose ). For his troubles, Pitt (and the film) were banned from China, but the final indignity was suffered by Annaud. Key sequences were re-edited after it became known that Harrer, who says ‘I have nothing to do with your silly war,’ joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and was drafted into the SS five years later.
USA / 136 minutes / 1997
Writers:Becky Johnston (from the book by Heinrich Harrer),
Brad Pitt as Heinrich Harrer
Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk as Dalai Lama, 14 Years Old
Ingeborga Dapkūnaitė as Ingrid Harrer
Lhakpa Tsamchoe as Pema Lhaki
Danny Denzongpa as Regent
Victor Wong as Chinese ‘Amban’
BD Wong as Ngawang Jigme
Mako as Kungo Tsarong
David Thewlis as Peter Aufschnaiter
Duncan Fraser as British Officer
and this just in
Savage Wilderness (1955, Victor Mature, James Whitmore)
Victor Mature, the ’50s star once dubbed ‘a beautiful hunk of man’ but now often unfairly labelled the Sylvester Stallone...
Let Him Have It (1991, Chris Eccleston, Paul Reynolds)
Let Him Have It is Peter Medak’s vividly dramatized account of the infamous and still controversial 1952 Craig-Bentley case focused,...
Legend Of The Lost (1957, John Wayne, Sophia Loren)
Henry Hathaway’s Boys Own adventure Legend Of The Lost is given extra curiosity value by Ben Hecht’s philosophical script. John...
I Could Go On Singing (UA 1963, Judy Garland, Dirk Bogarde)
In I Could Go On Singing Jenny Bowman (Judy Garland) is a great singing star. A Palladium season brings her...
Private Life Of Sherlock Holmes (1970, Robert Stephens, Colin Blakely)
This entertaining addition to the Sherlock Holmes canon saw Billy Wilder come up with a new adventure for the famous...
A Million Little Things: Pilot (Series Premiere ABC 26 Sep 2018)
Pilot: hey say friendship isn’t one big thing, it’s a million little things; and that’s true for a group of...
A Million Little Things: Band Of Dads (Episode 2 ABC 3 Oct 2018)
Band Of Dads: The group tries to be there for Sophie as an upcoming father-daughter dance recital approaches, and when...
Modern Family: I Love a Parade (Season 10 Premiere ABC 26 Sep 2018)
I Love a Parade: The Pritchett-Dunphy-Tucker clan are going to be setting off more than a few fireworks when they...
Bus Stop (TCF 1956, Marilyn Monroe, Don Murray)
Bar-room singer Cherie in Bus Stop was Marilyn Monroe’s first screen performance after she had retrained at Lee Strasberg’s Actors...
Guns Of The Magnificent Seven (1969, George Kennedy, James Whitmore)
After the success of The Magnificent Seven the men were no longer mere movie icons. They were also a popular...
Amorous Prawn, The (1962, Joan Greenwood, Cecil Parker)
Director Anthony Kimmins and Nicholas Phipps collaborated on the slick script for The Amorous Prawn a lively screen version of...