Obituary: Heinrich Harrer | News | The Guardian
It has been widely reported that Seven Years in Tibet, the tale of Harrer's trek through Tibet and his relationship with the Dalai Lama, was Toward the end of the film, as Pitt's Harrer contemplates the takeover of Tibet by the. Seven Years In Tibet is a film based on the true story of who went to the Himilayas to seek fame but end up discovering himself. of the relationship between two distinct religions: Tibetan Buddhism and Christianity. Seven Years in Tibet, film starring Brad Pitt, is plunged into heal was left by a possible connection with the Nazis when he left Austria in
Film review: Seven Years in Tibet | ThingsAsian
Cultural productions novels, paintings, photographs, films… are dramatically influential in shaping an imaginary of Tibet, not only in Europe and the United-States, but also in China.
This study first attempts to provide a concise examination of representations of Tibet in Chinese cinema. Surprisingly, while many studies tackle the Tibet issue from a Chinese perspective, or from a Tibetan perspective, very few make parallels of both versions.
The importance of the economic, political and cultural context in which films were produced should be underlined first. Indeed, images are received and perceived historically and rely upon larger discourses.
Thus, a comprehensive but non-exhaustive historical overview of imaginaries of Tibet, as well as a general context of these specific productions will be given. This will be followed by a more detailed examination of the films.
The point here is to deconstruct representations of Tibet, because modern representational practices produce knowledge, and representations establish control through knowledge formation.
We argue that neither of these positions is able to provide a fully understanding of the situation of Tibet, and that such approaches prevent from seeing the Tibet issue as a serious political conflict involved in a global and complex context.
Nevertheless, interest in Tibet were largely imbued with ideologies, may they be religious, political not to say racialist. The idea of Jesus travelling to Tibet was also largely spread and extensively discussed through the last century. Hence, East Asian religions combined with mysticism, spiritualism and esotericism, are very influent among New Agers. Not only Buddhism and Lamaism but also Tibetan cultural and environmental practices or medicine are appropriated by what has been qualified equally as a counterculture, a religious movement, a political group or an profitable commercial activity.
Film review: Seven Years in Tibet
Western Illusions, Weatherhill, Seven Years in Tibet is not excluded from this process, and is largely influenced by current debates on Tibet. Seven Years in Tibet: Tibet F or ever 22 First published in The film is based on the book of the same title by Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer who took refuge in Tibet after being imprisoned by the British Harrer and Aufschnaiter were part of an expedition in the Himalayas when the Second World War breaks out.
Harrer is depicted as a selfish, ambitious and self-centred man who did not hesitate to leave his pregnant wife in Austria to reach the Himalayas and glory. Arrested by the British on a journey in India, the two climbers manage to escape and cross the Indian border to Tibet. They eventually arrive in Lhasa after month of wandering in the mountains. As they try to steal food, a Tibetan invite them at his home and they decide to settle in the city.
They meet a young woman tailor they both try to seduce. Aufschnaiter and the young tailor finally get married, and Harrer takes refuge in the Potala Palace where the year old Dalai Lama asks him to build a film theatre.
From then on, Harrer becomes his instructor and his friend, as they happened to be both isolated and lonely people. Harrer is then able to accomplish his emotional transformation from an egotistic to a thoughtful person and father. In the mean time, the Chinese take control of Tibet, and the film portrays Tibetan as so pacifist and spiritual people that they are simply unable to build a proper army to defend the Potala Palace.
The last minutes of the film show how Harrer finally comes to know his son in Austria and trains him in the art of climbing mountains. In the very last image, Harrer is at the peak of a mountain in Europe with a Tibetan flag. The role of the internationalisation strategy of the Tibetan exiled government should not be understated as it clearly intervenes in popular imaginaries The Dalai Lama is often portrayed as a passive victim overwhelmed with political conflicts and a supreme pontiff of Tibetan Buddhism in common narrative largely spread in Europe and the United over the last twenty years.
At the same time, this image is largely promoted and spread by the Tibetan government itself, although it has been established the Dalai Lama had entertained not only religious but also political leadership in the course of the Sino-Tibetan history. Undoubtedly, this production played a major role in the shaping of a popular assessment of the Tibet questions, notably because it depicts the Chinese invasion with harsh images of a violent Chinese Army.
Uses of Tibet in Chinese imaginaries: What this study suggests, however, is that one cannot dissociate Chinese vision of Tibet from Chinese vision of non-Chinese in general. It does not give a precise and detailed account but only some clues of the Sino-Tibetan relationship before the twentieth century.
The myth of Tibet and Tibetans in Chinese art and prop Communist propaganda, soon after the foundation of the Popular Republic of China, provides relevant imageries of Tibet that someway persisted in the Post-Mao area. One famous illustration in cinema is the film The Serf in Chinese: It depicts the life of Jampa, a mute serf, brutalised and constantly humiliated by the feudal lords.
It obviously appeals for Han Chinese compassion as it portrays Tibetan feudal system as extremely bloody and inhuman.
The film is punctuated with visible marks of political propaganda, including symbols of the Communist Party and socialist views of work, religion, family and gender.
It was clearly significant in shaping an imaginary of obscure and terrific representation of Tibet that support and legitimise the Chinese intervention and control of Tibet. Tibet drew attention of numerous Chinese intellectuals and cultural producers in the s.
Writers, painters, singers and even politicians made Tibet very popular through their works and policies. As a matter of fact, Red River Valley relays an imaginary Tibet as well as a commercial and political project.
- Heinrich Harrer
Red River Valley 45 Except for John Powers, scholars usually skim over the film as part of the propagandist productio Peter Fleming, Bayonet in Lhasa: Very few academic accounts have discussed this film.
Pursued by the villages, she falls in the river and eventually reaches the bank of a river in Tibet. Meanwhile Gesang rescues a soldier-reporter, Younghusband but renamed Mr Jones in the filmand other officers from an avalanche.
On his way back to the Gyantse area, he understands that the real goal for their journey is the conquest of Tibet and its annexation to the British Empire. Negotiations are undertaken with the local force, whose commander is… a Han.
Two non-Tibetan characters Harrer in Seven Years in Tibet and Younghusband in Red River Valley narrate the stories from their point of view in the major part of the films. In the films, Tibetan main characters are naturally good and pure-minded and welcome both Han Chinese and Western foreigners as members of their families.
Tibet represents a redeeming hope for they all escaped from harsh fates the Han girl from a sacrifice, Younghusband from an avalanche and Harrer from the British army and found physical rest and spiritual redemption among Tibetans. Their relationship with Tibetans is largely influenced by such stereotypes. This supposed backwardness is shown as essential to Tibetans and to their relationship with Westerners and Han.
Refined and learned Western men contrast with Tibetan children, childish women, strong but simplistic Tibetan men.
Harrer Brad Pitt becomes the tutor of the young Dalai Lama on the one hand, teaching him what the world looks like in the literal sense, through geography lessons. Tibetan are said to be primitive, living simple lives without any physical or moral restraints.
As a matter of fact, the relationship is not well balanced for it hides asymmetrical relations of domination. Western heroes tell Tibetans, but Tibetans do not tell them in return in the films, and remain subjected by the narrators. Images and narratives are legitimised by the physical presence of the narrators in Tibet. However, it is crucial not to underestimate this narrative strategy as a way to produce and sustain mythologies and relations of power. Unlike them, Tibetans are not intended to better their position, neither are they able to extract themselves from their fates.
In the end, they get nothing good out of encounters with non-Tibetans: Indeed, considering that clothes constitute a social stabiliser, wearing Tibetan clothes and adopting Tibetan way of life allow the young Han to go beyond her Han identity. However, destabilising frontiers does not mean to subvert them: More, this supposed cross-exchange is only temporary and is not an ultimate end for neither of the Han girl, Younghusband and Harrer.
All of them have to, for various reasons, leave Tibet and go back to the world they are said to belong to. She is then forced to leave Gesang and her adoptive family. This impossible love story between the Han girl and Tibetan Gesang is symbolic of the fundamental barriers that separate Han and Tibetan societies in orientalised imaginary.
But the actual Aufschnai When he comes back, his mission to Lhasa turns into a nightmare and he would rather leave Tibet than being involved in the British invasion. In parallel, Harrer leave Tibet after the Chinese Army enters Lhasa and goes back to Austria where he could see his son for the first time: This is contrasted by the fact that his travelling companion, Peter Aufschnaiter actor David Thewlisalready married to a local girl, does not go back home: As a result, deconstruction of Tibetan and non-Tibetan relationship leads to the reconstruction of the dominant-dominated rapport.
Harrer's internal observations of his experiences and the endless details of each outpost along his arduous trek through the Himalayas. Performances by an excellent supporting cast create convincing portraits of three-dimensional characters, including David Thewlis as Harrer's rival and sometimes traveling companion Peter Aufschnaiter, B.
But the real star of the show is Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk, an impish young man who plays the Dalai Lama at 14 years old.
Heinrich Harrer - Wikipedia
His effervescent portrayal of Tenzin Gyatso in his insatiable thirst for knowledge of the outside world, and his affectionate candor toward Heinrich Harrer make him one of the most endearing characters in cinematic history. Contrary to popular belief, Harrer did not compete on the Austrian skiing team in the Olympics in Berlin, an apocryphal factoid perpetrated by a number of unreliable sources.
Austria was taken by Germany shortly before the onset of World War II, and Harrer, who was on a mountain climbing expedition to scale Nanga Parabat in India, was taken prisoner and held in a British Colonial internment camp near the Tibetan border. After hoarding enough supplies to sustain themselves on the arduous journey that lay ahead, Heinrich Harrer and Peter Aufschnaiter escaped and set out for Lhasa, the Forbidden City.
Having braved the harsh Himilayan terrain through a bitter winter with only meager rations, surviving the threat of attack by hostile nomads, the hardships of altitude sickness, and the likelihood that they would be denied sanctuary in Tibet, Harrer and Aufschnaiter were welcomed into Lhasa. There they were treated as honored guests, attired in the finest garments, served sumptuous banquets, and housed in royal quarters.
Harrer lived in Lhasa for nearly five years, where he taught English to the children of the court, and developed a close relationship with Tenzin Gyatso, the boy who would become the 14th Dalai Lama. Harrer was even allowed to photograph and film the royal family as they participated in sacred ceremonies never before witnessed by an outsider. Thereafter, he continued to organize climbing expeditions, one of the most notable being the first ascent of the Puncak Jayadikesuma in western New Guinea, the highest peak in Oceania.
His accolades include the Gold Humboldt Medal and the Explorers Club Medal for his expeditions and explorations throughout six continents. Seven Years in Tibet has sold more than four million copies and has been translated into 53 languages. And despite his advancing age, Heinrich Herrer has been an outspoken advocate of human rights and has continued to maintain a close friendship with Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso.
At the age of three, he was recognized as the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. Much mysticism surrounded the discovery of the new Dalai Lama. While the body of Thupten Gyatso still lay in state at the Potala, it is said that his face turned to face northeast. Soon thereafter, a vision of the house where the next Dalai Lama would be found appeared to Reting Rinpoche, a Tibetan regent, as he gazed into Lake Lhamo Latso in southern Tibet.