A review of the film version of “Seven Years In Tibet”

It took me 25 years to view this 1997 film and, by then, I’d visited China four times but never managed to reach Tibet. In fact, although there was some secret filming in the Chinese-occupied territory, most of the stunning scenery in this work was shot in Argentina.

So the film looks wonderful and it tells a remarkable, largely true, story: how the former Nazi, Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, found himself as a tutor and friend to the current Dalai Lama in the period just after the Second World War and the occupation of Tibet by China.

The cast is an attractive one with American Brad Pitt as Harrer and British David Thewlis as his fellow mountaineer, the German Peter Aufschnaiter, and many of the support cast having different ethnic backgrounds of Asian origin. Then there is music written by John Williams and performed by Yo-Yo Ma.

All this would encourage one to view the movie and it is worth seeing, but ultimately it is something of a disappointment. Although well-intentioned in its support of Tibetan culture and independence, as a film it is too long and too slow and lacks a certain passion.


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