Did you ever wonder what would happen if a trekking holiday took an unexpected turn? For Brad Pitt’s character in this week’s movie pick, Seven Years in Tibet, the answer could not have been more fascinating.
In this 1997 film based on an autobiography Pitt plays Heinrich Harrer, a cocksure Austrian mountaineer about to take off on what he believes is another standard trekking holiday at the onset of World War II. His destination on this particular go-round is the Himalayas, where he will indulge in some climbing with a fellow Austrian, Peter Aufschnaiter. However, due to their nationality and the tensions going on at the time, the two end up in a Prisoner of War camp in India, from which they escape into Tibet. What they find there changes their lives.
Aufschnaiter finds love, and eventually marries a local woman, but for Harrer the situation is far more complex. The Austrian becomes the target of interest of a very young Dalai Lama. The duo strike up a most unlikely friendship in which they derive knowledge from one another. As a result of this peculiar connection Harrer ends up establishing himself in Tibet for seven years and witnesses various historically significant events such as the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950.
Directed with a sure hand by French filmmaker Jean-Jacques Annaud, this is an eminently viewable film which, though deviating considerably from the book it is based on, offers more than enough to inspire any rambler about to set out on a trekking holiday!