Sunday, June 13, 2010

Seven Years in Tibet

Seven Years in Tibet; Drama, USA/ UK, 1997; D: Jean-Jacques Annaud, S: Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, B.D. Wong, Mako

Autumn of '39: Austrian Heinrich Harrer, an egoistical mountaineer and winner of the Olympic medal, boards a train and starts his journey towards Tibet together with Peter Aufschnaiter. He will not return to Austria for 11 years and his wife will raise their child without him because they will be separated by World War II. Heinrich will be captured in India but will manage to escape to Tibet. There he makes friends with the 14th Dalai Lama, who is still a child, and change into a good person. After the Chinese occupation of Tibet, Dalai Lama flees to India, while Heinrich returns to Austria and begs his family for forgiveness.

After thriller "Seven", Brad Pitt decided to star in another film with that number in the title, "Seven Years in Tibet", but it is indisputably a lot weaker than the first one. Viewers afraid of the dry and limitless boredom do not need to worry since this biopic still contains a fair dose of interesting things, notably towards the end, skillfully avoiding cheap moments. But the story is terminally overlong and does not have that spark that keeps the viewers glued to the screen or any feature that would cause them to see the film again, which is why it turns into an ordinary history lesson. Basically, in the end, it all boils down to the Chinese occupation of Tibet, whereas the mentality of the hero or some deeper spiritual elements stay behind. It is important that the hero turns into a good person, but it is not clear how or why he does that, except maybe for the esoteric Tibet surroundings. A vague adventure with vague experience.


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