Seven Years in Tibet
“Seven Years in Tibet” depicts the real life story of Austrian mountain climber, Heinrich Harrer, who set out in 1939 to climb the Nanga Parbat Mountain in Himalayas and had a close encounter with the young Dalai Lama. Adapted from the memoirs of Heinrich Harrer, the film tells his stirring tale of friendship with the Dalai Lama that changed his life forever (“Seven Years in Tibet”). Before the onset of World War II, Harrer left his pregnant wife Ingrid to team up with fellow Austrian Peter Aufschnaiter and climb the Nanga Parbat Mountain.
Right after the war broke out, Harrer and Aufschnaiter met various obstacles which include being arrested by the British military. After almost five years in prison camp, Harrer and Aufschnaiter managed to escape, and for 21 months, both men climbed, dragged, and hiked through the rough terrains. The men’s escape led them to the forbidden city of Lhasa where Heinrich was able to befriend the young Dalai Lama despite the rules forbidding a close contact with the next voice of the Tibetan Buddhism (Travers).
However, it was under the influence of the Holy leader that Harrer began his personal journey and gained inner wisdom and self-awareness. Shortly after, the two men faced another obstacle that tested their friendship when Kundun was betrayed by a courtier, further inflaming the tension brought by the confrontation in China and eventually leading to the Chinese invasion. In the face of these chaotic times, the Dalai Lama was formally enthroned and became the leader of Tibet.
Harrer then bade farewell to the Kundun and returned back to Austria in 1951 (Marx-Michael). The movie allows the viewers to see the importance of the Buddhist faith, although it is not truly distinguished as a real religion (Emmerich). Moreover, the whole film was able to convey the Tibetan’s culture and lifestyle. The movie also shows that a beautiful friendship may blossom between two people who are from different worlds. Thus, the film tells the audience that friendship could not be measured by differences and age.
The movie also portrays man’s discontentment which was apparent when Harrer left his pregnant wife and his domesticity in exchange for climbing the renowned peak of Nanga Parbat Mountain. Harrer’s discontentment backfired at him when his own son rejected his letters, and from there, he realized his faults. Yet, at the end of the film, Harrer was able to get to know his estranged son and make up for the time that he was not by his side. Generally, the film showed authenticity and has a commendable cast. Likewise, the script is historically motivated that captures the mind of audiences and critics alike.