Seven Years in Tibet Seven Years in Tibet (1997) is based on the book written by Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer. The plot is mainly based on Heinrich Harrers experiences in Tibet, where he was during 1944-1951, during World War II., the interim period, and the invasion of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army in 1950. A colorful production design, well-drawn characters of the movie, epic pictures and a somewhat sentimental story about the peace and war, love and hate, make Seven Years In Tibet an unforgettable experience for the viewers, introducing them the moving story of Heinrich Harrer, whose life and personality have been completely changed during his expedition in the Himalayas by the long seven years Heinrich Harrer spends in this beautiful land. Seven Years in Tibet was directed by Jean-Jaques Annaud with the participation of the movie stars Brad Pitt and David Thewlis. John Williams was responsible for the scene composure. As the title implies, the film Seven Years in Tibet takes place in Tibet, so the geographical context of the film is directly relevant to the events taking place in the movie, to the movies plot and theme.
The plot is quite trivial, as the movie tells the story about Austrians Peter Aufschnaiter and Heinrich Harrer, who were imprisoned by the British, when they were mountaineering in the north of India at the very beginning of the Second World War in 1939. The Austrians managed to escape across the border into Tibetan mountains and cross the Tibetan plateau. Peter Aufschnaiter and Heinrich Harrer meet the new, a completely unusual way of life, when they were introduced to the Dalai Lama. Heinrich Harrer becomes the Dalai Lamas tutor and makes a close friendship with the boy during Harrers time in Lhasa. Both Austrians remain in Tibet until the invasion of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army in 1950. The landscapes in the movie are amazing: Nanga Parbat, one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas, where the famous Austrian mountaineer starts his long journey, the bewildering landscapes of the Tibetan lands, the mysterious Tibetan city of Lhasa with its strange and fantastic streets, and shabby buildings, where the main character of the movie experiences an emotional awakening on his fantastic journey that takes him from the heights, fame and glory to the depths of mysterious land. The physical setting in the film, strange land, the majestic mountains, unusual plants, beautiful landscapes, – all this affects the mood of the film, attaching an additional emphasis on the process of emotional transformation experienced by Heinrich Harrer from the first moments to the last minutes of the Seven Years in Tibet.
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The splendor of the natural mountains and naturally majestic landscape of the Himalayas is organically mixed with the human constructed landscape, such as small buildings in the Tibetan villages, narrow roads, and majestic architectural style of the monasteries, and the sacred Tibetan places. Clothing styles and colors, furniture and the use of various building materials make Seven Years in Tibet the movie of epic proportions. Lofty peaks in the Tibetan lands, the sacred legacy of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama, and endless details of each outpost along Heinrich Harrers arduous trek through the Himalayas contribute to the films aim to show the long road to emotional transformation of the main character. All these details that were so carefully selected by the producer tell a lot about the culture of that time and introduce the unique Tibetan culture to the viewer. The producer also managed to show the unique style how the characters in the Seven Years in Tibet interact with each other in the context of their culture. The environment in the film is similar to that of the country where the story takes place, and the viewer has a chance to enjoy the majestic views of the Himalayas and the Tibetan towns. The actors managed to create convincing portraits of three-dimensional characters, making them, probably, the most endearing characters in cinematic history.
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Seven Years in Tibet tell the story of the spiritual transformation of the main character. This is not yet another one story about the Dalai Lama. In Seven Years in Tibet Heinrich Harrer gradually undergoes all stages of the arduous transformation, from the Third Reich poster exemplary young man to the really unique, genuine, and loving individual. The movie is rich in symbolism, as it consistently shows the differences between the Westerners and the Tibetans. It shows Harrers self-absorption and pride against the background of wisdom and genuine characters of Tibetan monks. Harrer, who wanted to conquer Nanga Parbat for the greater glory of his own country, failed to do this due to bad weather conditions and had to return home.
However, when the mountaineers descend into an Indian territory, they were taken as prisoners by the British. This is the initial point, where the real story begins. The complexity of Harrers character is vividly portrayed in each scene of the film. Harrer succeeds to escape only when he learns how to deal with the other prisoners, who are less impulsive and more reasonable. The magnificent beauty of the landscapes is consistently set of against Harrer’s adventures, making the movie more complex. The colors in the movie are nicely saturated and natural. All monumental panoramas with perfect lighting setups and excellent colors brings out the best of the producers talent, and the movies phenomenal landscape photography, and majestic Tibetan images that build the backbone to this story, obviously affect the mood of the film, and make the Seven Years in Tibet geographical context relevant to the movie’s plot, and theme..