Seven Years in Tibet (1997) - full transcript

After the death of 11 climbers, Austrian Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt) decides to add glory to his country and to the Austrian pride by climbing Nanga Parbat in British India, and leaves his expectant wife behind. An egoist and a loner, he does not get along with others on his team - but must bend to their wishes after bad weather threatens them. Then WWII breaks out, they are arrested and lodged in Dehra Dun's P.O.W. Camp. He attempts to break out several times in vain, but finally does succeed along with Peter Aufschnaiter (David Thewlis), and they end up in the holy city of Lhasa - a place banned to foreigners. They are provided food and shelter, and Peter ends up marrying a tailor, Pema Lhaki, while Heinrich befriends the Dalai Lama. They meet regularly; while he satiates the child's curiosity about the world, including Jack the Ripper and 'yellow hair'; he is exposed to the teachings of Lord Buddha, He even constructs a movie theater, while getting news of the end of the war, his divorce, and his son's refusal to communicate. But nothing will prepare him for the devastation about to descend when Communist China decides to attack, leading to the deaths of over 1 million Tibetans, the destruction of over 6000 monasteries, and betrayal from their very own people. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
Why must you be this way?

Why is there always a problem?
It's a good question.

Do you want to go home?
Do you want to turn around?

- Yes!
- It's the Himalayas!

How long have I been talking
about the Himalayas?

- How long?
- Far too long.

Horst, when we get there,
can you give me a hand, please?

- Yes, of course.
- Ingrid, stop it.

Let's try to make the best of this.

Where's this idiot who's
supposed to meet us?


Mr. Harrer.

I have your tickets.

- I'm late. Take me to my train.
- No, you don't understand.

I am Peter Aufschnaiter.
I am leading the expedition.

- How do you do?
- Here's our celebrity!

Mr. Harrer?

May I say, Mr. Harrer, on
behalf of the Reichssportsfuhrer...

we are honored to have such a
great German hero on the team.

Thank you, but I'm Austrian.

Yes, but I'm sure that
as a distinguished member...

of the National Socialist Party,
you would be proud to plant...

our country's flag on the summit
of Nanga Parbat when you reach it.

Hans Lobenhoffer.

Lutz Chicken.

And a picture with your lovely wife.

And Mr.--

Horst Immendorf. Family friend.
No picture necessary.

When is the little one due,
Mrs. Harrer?

About the time my husband
reaches the base camp.

Thank you.

Why don't you tell the entire
stinking country our troubles?

I'm getting on that train. Do you
have anything you want to say?


Go. Leave.

I'll see you in four months.

- Take good care of her, Horst.
- I will, Heinrich.

We will travel 5,000 miles.

When we reach India,
we will head for the Himalayas...

and the ninth highest peak
on Earth, Nanga Parbat.

Germany calls it ''Unserberg--
Our Mountain. ''

Before us, four German
expeditions attempted it.

All failed.

Eleven climbers were killed
in storms and avalanches.

By now, the conquest of Nanga
Parbat is a national obsession--

a matter of German pride.

July 29, 1939.

We have already made
Camp Four at 22,000 feet.

Overhead is the Rekiak Glacier
and a difficult climb up the icefall.

The baby must be at
least one month old now.

I have been so
confused and distracted.

I can't climb with
my usual confidence.

Are you all right?


- Are you all right?
- Shall we come down?

Lost a crampon!

Go ahead!

The weather's getting bad.
We should rope up.

- Did you hurt yourself back there?
- Just a scratch. I'll lead.


Look out below!

Hold me!

Have you got me?

Hold me!

You should have told me
how bad that wound was.

I should take a look at it.
I could sew it up.

It's not your problem.

Actually, it is my problem.

- It's my life.
- What?

When you conceal a serious
injury and put my life at risk...

I consider that my problem.

No, you put your life at risk.
I saved it, so shut up!

Please, it is not your place--

Shut up!

The next time you lie
about an injury, Heinrich...

you're off the team.

Try it.

August 4th, Camp Five.
Some fierce storms have passed.

My teammates are nervous
about the avalanches...

so we've been holed up for days.

Aufschnaiter should take advantage of
this lowland weather to make high camp.

But he disagrees with me. Fool.

It seems the others don't
mind sitting here waiting...

hoping, doing nothing.

So much time to question
one's self is not good.

I am beginning to think this
whole expedition was a mistake.

Run! Avalanche! Get out!

Leave everything!

Put that down!

We are going down now!

If they're frightened of a storm,
send them down to Camp Two.

I could summit on my own!
Always give the best man his shot!

He's trying to tell us
he's the best man.

Give me two Sherpas.
I can make Camp Six by tonight...

and my final attack tomorrow!

- We are going down now as a team!
- I've earned that peak!

- I want that peak!
- As a team! That's an order!

That is an order! An order!

Follow me!

Dalai Lama photo.
Good protection.

Take it, Si Hib.
It will protect you.

No, that means nothing to me.

Dalai Lama. Dalai Lama photo.

Si Hib, take it.

Good protection for you.

Good afternoon, Herr Harrer.

Well, let's hope that Germany
retreats from Poland...

as quickly as you did
from your mountain.

It might save you
some prison time.

What is this? Who are you?

- I'm sorry, but you're under arrest.
- What charge? Failure to summit?

I'm afraid not.

You see, war has been declared between
His Majesty's Government and Germany.

So all enemy aliens on British Empire
soil are now prisoners of war.

- Stop, or I'll shoot!
- Hands up!

No, you don't understand!
I'm Austrian! I'm a climber!

I have nothing to do
with your silly war!

I can walk myself.
This is an insult!

You think you have the
last word, but you don't!

Pigs! All of you, pigs!

October 15, 1939.

Reaching prison camp,
I make a promise to myself.

I will be lying beside Ingrid before
the summer solstice of the new year.

The Himalayas are
right in front of us.

It will be easy to escape
and get lost in them.

My fourth escape attempt
brings me no closer to my goal.

How far did you get this time?

All I have achieved is a certain
dubious celebrity among the prisoners.

If only my hand could
express what is in my heart.

I hear the guards are
mailing letters for you.


Would you mail these?

Thank you.

Hey, Heinrich, have
you read this book?

It was checked out to you.

- We need to talk to you.
- What about?

About this.

Impressive. When do
you plan to leave?

After monsoon season. And you?

I see you've chosen
my route through Tibet.

The few foreigners who have tried
never came back. So, good luck.

- Would you like to come with us?
- Why?

After all, you are the authority
on jailbreak around here.

- We could benefit from your experience.
- Please.

Stop this embarrassing charade.

Every time you escape, the
patrols are doubled and tripled.

It is making life very difficult
for the rest of us.

I prefer to travel on my own,
but thanks for thinking of me.

The mailman has come.

Dear Heinrich..

Please sign the enclosed divorce
papers and send them to my lawyer.

Horst and I intend to be married
as soon as the divorce is finalized.

As for your letter,yes.

Your son, Rolf Harrer, was born
while you were climbing the mountain.

He is now two years old
and calls Horst ''Papa. ''

When he is old enough,
I will tell him...

his real father was
lost in the Himalayas.

It seems the kindest thing
to say considering...

you never wanted
the child anyway.

Needless to say,
I have no intention...

of''resolving our differences''
as you suggested.

They were resolved the
moment you left Austria.

I'm sorry you have been
imprisoned in India...

and hope this dreadful war will
soon be over for everyone's sake.


I'm coming with you.

This is your plan?

In my humble opinion,
this is ridiculous.

Then since you are so humble,
we won't ask your opinion.

Open the charts. Turn around.

Keep your back to the
gate. Open the charts!

Keep talking.
Wait for my signal.

We are clear. Okay.

Open the gates!

See to this. Open the gates!

I'm going off on my own.

So, good luck.

First escape from prison
camp, November 18, 1939.

Rolf Harrer--
three and a half months old.

My 30th birthday, July 6,1941.

Rolf Harrer-- exactly one year,
11 months and 26 days.

Last escape from Dehra Dun.
Rolf Harrer--

Take two and sleep it off.
I'll send you a bill in the morning.

What are you doing here?

I missed you so much.
I thought I'd pay you a visit.

What about the others?

The Italians were caught
outside Nelang.

Lutz and Hans got sick
and had to turn back.

- Sorry to hear that.
- I'm sure you're heartbroken.

May I impose upon your generous
nature and camp here tonight?

Be my guest.

Thank you. It is
very gracious of you.

- Good.
- What else do you have in there?

A ten-piece orchestra?

By the way, I heard the
Japanese have retreated...

all the way back to Shanghai so even
if you make it to the Chinese border...

you may have difficulty
catching up with them.

I don't care if they're repelled
all the way back to Tokyo.

You should if you want
to get back to Austria.

- But I don't.
- Don't what?

- Plan to go back.
- Why not?

No particular reason.

When you get
there, tell my wife...

that two years in prison camp is roughly
equivalent to four years of marriage.

And I'm glad to be
free of them both.

I'm not going back either, not
until this shameful war is over.

- And where are you headed?
- Tibet.

Then on to China, see if I
can find some work there.

And you?

By my calculations, the Chinese
border is 2,058 kilometers away.

Tibet is 68.

It's a long way to travel
with such a heavy load.

No,just full of food.

- Precisely.
- Mine.

That's too bad.

Those mountains are treacherous.
There are glaciers to be crossed.

If you had roped up to me,
I could have kept you alive.

Considering your performance
the last time we roped up...

I think I'm safer without you.

Of course.

But I think you are wrong about
that Tibetan border calculation.

By my measurements,
it is 65 kilometers.

Care to wager a kilo
of food on that?

All you've got is
some stale crackers.

But I'm right. I'll win.

Tibet, the roof of the world.

It feels as though we have
ascended a medieval stone fortress...

towering above
the center of Asia.

This is the highest
country on Earth.

And the most isolated.

There it is.


- Exactly 68 kilometers.
- Congratulations.

Unfortunately, you've
eaten all your winnings.


Just smile and say yes.
It's better that way.

It's amazing what you
learn in prison, isn't it?


- No foreigners allowed in Tibet.
- Oh, please!

No foreigner!

Oh, please!

Yes. Thank you. Of course.

No translation needed.

Some people are glad to see us.

Don't let it get to your head.

When the Tibetans clap hands, it
means they are driving out evil forces.

We need to find food.

It is the prophecy. It says here...

in the final testament of
great thirteenth Dalai Lama.

''It may happen that, in Tibet,
religions and government...

will be attacked
by outside forces.

Unless we can guard
our own country...

monks and their monasteries
will be destroyed.

The lands and property of
government officials will be seized.

The Dalai Lama and all the
revered holders of the faith...

will disappear and
become nameless.''

Now you understand why we are
not welcome to foreigners here?

Yes, but you must understand
we're not here to threaten or harm.

We just need food,
and then we'll be on our--

His Excellency, the Garpon.

Your Eminence, we're
happy to see you.

We wanted to apologize.


And give you this
really special gift.

Please, from us.

Long live the Dalai Lama,
His Holiness.

Thank you for the picture.
Go back to India!

Two days into Tibet's western frontier
and we are graciously kicked out.

Our guides have strict
orders to escort us...

to the Indian border
some 40 kilometers away...

and to shoot us
if we attempt escape.

Must mean hello.

As long as they
don't try to kiss me.

We have to stock
up. I'm broke.

Don't look at me.

We have to eat, Peter.
Know what time it is?

It is not negotiable.

My father gave it to me
when I climbed Mount Blanc.

Everyone's climbed
Mount Blanc.

If I had a watch like
this, I would trade it.

- Where did you get this jacket?
- North Tibet.

Communism soldier come
from China. Very nice.

They give food, money. Very
nice. Communism soldier.

You like military
uniforms, yes?

I have German army
boots. For you. Yes?


Give me these, for the guards.


Like this. You like?

Very good. They're tough.

My friend, shall I show you
how German soldiers march?

You must make this face.

Come! Yes.


Excellent. Yes.
You, with practice.

Now, I will show you
how German soldiers run.

Stand like this.

Guess what?

All clear.

Know what time it is?

You think I'm so happy
to be traveling with you...

I should foot the bill?

You are such a big man
you don't need to contribute?

You have a problem?

Remind me...

what you said at the
bazaar back there.

''If I had a watch like
that, I would trade it.''

You do not have one.

You cheap, lying bastard!
You have three!

This is junk from
some Italian prisoners.

I don't give a shit!

Haven't you ever
heard of a principle?

What principle?

You want a watch?
Go ahead. Pick one.

- And keep your principles.
- Look at you!

Caught being a selfish
brat and you're gloating!

You're acting like an old
woman. What do you want?

Try apologizing.

Try feeling a little remorse.

And if all else fails, try
wiping that smirk off your face!

Take your stinking
watch and shut up!

I don't need another boring sermon from
some frustrated glorified tour guide.

No wonder you
are always alone.

No one can stand
your miserable company.

Please, take them.

It was wrong of
me to hide them.

- Keep this.
- No.

I didn't deserve it either.
Go ahead.

He'll be three and
a half years old now.

Pretty soon, she'll tell him
I was lost in the Himalayas.

Which is fine.


Better a dead father
than a lousy father.

Write him a letter.

Let him know you're still alive.

New York.


- Paris.
- Your Holiness, where are you?

It is time for your lesson.

Your Holiness, where are you?
It is time for your lesson.

Dear Rolf Harrer..

I'm a person you don't know...

a man you've never met.

But you are someone
who occupies my mind...

and my heart...

in this distant land
where I have gone.

If you can imagine a hidden place
tucked safely away from the world...

concealed by walls of high,
snowcapped mountains--

a place rich with all the strange
beauty of your nighttime dreams--

then you know where I am.

In the country where
I am traveling, Tibet...

people believe if they walk
long distances to holy places...

it purifies the bad deeds
they've committed.

They believe the more
difficult the journey...

the greater the
depth of purification.

I've been walking from one faraway
place to the next for many years--

as long as you have lived.

I have seen seasons change
across the high plateaus.

I have seen wild kiangs
migrate south in winter...

and sweep back across the
fields when spring appears.

In this place, where
time stands still...

it seems that
everything is moving...

including me.

I can't say I know
where I'm going...

nor whether my bad
deeds can be purified.

There are so many things
I have done which I regret.

But when I come to a full stop,
I hope you will understand...

that the distance between us
is not as great as it seems.

With deep affection...

your father, Heinrich Harrer.

Get up.

My God!

I'll give you these.

Yellow head!

- No! Wait! We have nothing!
- Give me money!

We have no money!

Give me watch!

- Give me clothes!
- We have nothing for you!


Where are you headed?

I have permit.

Lhasa. I have permit.

It is unseemly for the spiritual
leader of Tibet to spy on people.

Only a month ago, we were certain
of death at the hands ofbandits.

And today, we have reached the
gates of the forbidden city of Lhasa.

It is as difficult
a goal as Mecca...

and precisely as attractive
because it is closed to all foreigners.

Even in our
miserable condition...

we feel the lure
of Tibet's holiest city...

home of the Dalai Lama.

Only a few foreigners had
penetrated its mysteries.

Oh, my God!

- Is it over?
- No, it is not over.

You are invited to stay
for lunch, if you like.

We'd like that very much.

I am Tsarong.
Welcome to my home.

I am Peter.

Lord Chamberlain,
may I request...

an audience with the regent
and ministers of the cabinet?

It's about two foreigners
who came to Lhasa.

With respect, Rinpoche...

if your intention is to stop the Chinese
from recruiting political allies...

then demanding that they
stop trying to bribe monks...

is not the most effective tactic.

I asked the opinion of the ministers,
not that of a mere secretary.

Of course. Forgive me.

You may leave now.

Start translating the
letter as written.

Of course.

Do you realize how many men
could survive such an ordeal?

We should respect them.

If we return them to India,
they'll surely go back to prison.

But they have no purpose here,
Kungo Tsarong. No place to live.

I have invited them to stay
at my guest quarters...

assuming you would grant them
permission to remain in Lhasa, of course.

Invited them to
stay at your place?

But why?

Must one have reason
to help those in need?


I think she said you stink.

You do not need to
introduce yourselves.

I know who you are.

I am Pema Lhaki.

Ngawang wishes to make a gift to
you, so please take your clothes off.

Let's get started.
I don't have all day.

Well, this is most kind
of Ngawang Jigme.

Who is he to be so thoughtful?

Secretary to the ministers
of the government.

He wished to make you
a gift of new clothes.

Please select your preferred
article of clothing.

You're a seamstress?

I am a tailor, sir, the
only tailor in Lhasa...

who has been to Calcutta and
can reproduce these silly costumes.

So, I pick?

Yes, choose whichever you like.

- And you can make any of these?
- Yes.

- Very good.
- Did you make this?

- Yes.
- Beautiful.

- Thank you.
- Do you like this?

Whichever you like.

I will have this
handsome tweed jacket.

And this pair of sporting
woolen trousers, please.

- Good choice.
- Thanks.

And you, sir?

- Perhaps you could choose for me.
- Thank you.

Please, sir, take off your chu-pa.
I would like to measure.

Stand still, please.

This way, please.

- Stand still.
- Sorry.

- No moving, please.
- I'm sorry.

That way, you will
never fall. It's perfect.

Still, walking up mountains
is a fool's pleasure, Heinrich.

Not so foolish, really.

Look at this.

Go ahead.

That's after I climbed
the Eiger North Face.

That's Olympics. Gold
medal. Not important.

Then this is another great difference
between our civilization and yours.

You admire the man...

who pushes his way to
the top in any walk of life...

while we admire the man
who abandons his ego.

The average Tibetan wouldn't think
to thrust himself forward this way.


- I'm sorry. Have we met?
- No, we have not.

I am Ngawang Jigme.

- Yes, of course.
- Forgive us.

Thank you for
your generous gift.

It's wonderful. Thank you.

You are most welcome.
I am sure we will meet again.

Perhaps you could
help us explain...

why the ministers...

demand that the
Chinese government...

''...cease making generous
financial contributions...

to Tibetan monasteries.''

Do our gifts displease
your government?

I cannot speak for the regent
nor the ministers, Excellence.

I am only a mere secretary.

Not for long, I presume.
Sit down.

A man of such obvious
talent cannot be satisfied...

with just translating letters.

Your diplomatic skill...

would be richly rewarded here.

Serving my country faithfully
is reward enough, Excellence.

I ask permission
to take my leave.

It looks like we're both in
need of a good tailor today.

Yes, there's a--

Please, take a seat.

Do you like these?
I'll buy them for you.

Thank you, but I
don't eat much meat.

- Don't eat meat?
- He says they are knives from West.

You put them on
your feet to cut meat.

They are ice skates.

You put them on your feet...

to skate...

to glide--
sort of dance on ice.

- Yeah.
- Why?

- Why not?
- It's another fool's pleasure.

Let's get them.
How mu--

No, for this?


And for this?

Did you see?

Did you see that?

- Did you hurt yourself?
- No, thank you. I'm okay.

Here we go. Up.

- You okay? Did you bang your head?
- No, I'm having fun.

- You must hold on.
- Watch me!

- Do not look too much at the ground.
- All right.

- Look only into my eyes.
- Yes, all right.

Can I help you?
Here, take my hand.

- Are you happy?
- Very happy.

I try to picture you, Rolf...

and this is what I see..

a young boy who is
strong and bright...

a boy filled with
curiosity about life...

a boy who isn't afraid
to learn from his mistakes.

Hello, married woman.

Hello, bachelor man.


Well, come in.

The Japanese army is facing
a growing challenge...

not from China's
unified front...

but from the powerful
Chinese Communist Army.

Under the control
of Mao Tse-tung--

The rumor is that the
Communists have taken over...

the whole of North
and Central China.

Rumor? It's a fact.

Ngawang keeps me up-to-date
on all China's war news.

So, how are things
at Kungo Tsarong's?

Frankly, I wouldn't know.
I moved out five months ago.

Really? Has it been this long
since we have seen you?

- Apparently it has.
- And have you been busy?

This is why I'm extremely busy...

since I've been hired to survey
the entire city of Lhasa.

Unfortunately, your place is too
far out for me to include it on my map.

We like our privacy.

Yes, apparently so.

What about women? Have
you met anyone you like?


Since I failed miserably
with an Austrian wife...

an exotic failure with a
Tibetan wife seems misguided.

But to answer your question,
no, I haven't. You?

A friend's good
fortune is a blessing.

I'm sorry you resent ours.

You must be very
lonely and sad.

The war is over!

Have the Communists won?

Your war, my friend.
Germany has surrendered.

- Where are you going?
- Back home. Austria.

Mr. Harrer, letter.

We miss you.

I miss you.

''Dear Mr. Heinrich Harrer:

You are not my father.

Please stop writing me letters.

Rolf Immendorf.''

Honorable Harry Harrer?

- Yes?
- A letter for you.

The Honorable Heinrich Harrer
doesn't want any more letters.

It is from the Great Mother
of His Holiness, the Dalai Lama.

Thank you for
coming, Mr. Harrer.

Thank you for inviting
me, Great Mother.

Do you know the rules of
protocol concerning my son?

Not exact-- I know one bows
and performs prostrations.

When you are in the
presence of His Holiness...

you must always be standing...

bent in obeisance, hands
folded in supplication.

If seated, you must always
be seated lower than he.

Never look him in the eye.
Never speak before he does.

Always refer to him
as ''Your Holiness.''

Never turn your back to him.
And never, never touch him.

He is the reincarnation
of Avalokiteshvara...

the Bodhisattva of Compassion.

After his recognition,
he was renamed...

Jetsun Jamphel Ngawang
Lobsang Yeshi Tenzin Gyatso...

Holy Lord, Gentle Glory,
Eloquent, Compassionate...

Learned Defender of the
Faith, Ocean of Wisdom.

His Holiness, the Dalai
Lama, would like to meet you.

As his advisors have not permitted
a private audience with you...

His Holiness has asked me to bring
you along to my monthly audience.

I'd be honored and moved.

Yellow head.

You have hair on your
arms too? And legs?

- How about you?
- Mr. Harrer.

It's an honor to meet
you, Your Holiness.

Do you like movies?

You know, I haven't seen
a movie in about eight years.

- But as I recall, yes, very much.
- So do I.

- I'm glad to hear that.
- I have a movie projector. And films.

I want to build a movie
house. Here, at the Potala.

- With seats and everything.
- Seats would be advisable.

Can you build it?

- Excuse me?
- Can you build a movie house for me?

My advisors cannot disapprove,
and you will be well paid.

And you will have to come here
every day to build it, every single day.

When you are here, you'll visit me. We
can have conversations on many topics.

I would like to learn about
the world you come from.

For example, where is Paris, France?
And what's a Molotov cocktail?

And who is Jack the Ripper?

You can tell me many things.

I'm proud to be of service,
Your Holiness.

What is the problem?


Please, no more hurting worms.

- Please.
- Worms?

In a past life, this innocent worm
could have been your mother.

Please, no more hurting.

It's impossible.
Please, no more.

But you see,
Tibetans believe...

all living creatures were
their mothers in a past life.

So we must show them respect
and repay their kindness.

And never, never harm
anything that lives.

You can't ask a devout people
to disregard a precious teaching.

Yes, but Your Holiness...

with true respect,
we can't possibly--

I'm sorry, but we can't
possibly rescue all the worms...

not if you want a theater
finished in this lifetime.

You have a clever mind.
Think of a solution.

And in the meantime, you can
explain to me what is an elevator.

Antarctica. That's down below.




Don't look at me for help.



Oh, I know him.
Honk. Hello!



The robe of a minister is so much finer
than your old brown robe, isn't it?


Everyone, please.

You must be very clever to
get such a good promotion.

I did not intend to be
a secretary forever.

Apparently so.

Well, congratulations.

Evil omen!

From his headquarters
in Peking...

the Chairman, Mao Tse-tung,
was triumphantly proclaimed leader...

of the new People's
Republic of China.

Chairman Mao vowed that the first
task of the Communist regime...

is to reunite the
Chinese motherland.

He declared that the
remote kingdom of Tibet...

is an integral part
of the Chinese territory...

and mustjoin the
great new republic.

''...and must join
the great new republic.''

People's Republic of
China is advised...

the government of Tibet
recognizes no foreign sovereign.

We are an independent nation.

All the Chinese officials will be
expelled from the borders of Tibet.

We wish you a happy
return to your homeland.

Have a safe and pleasant
journey back to China.

May you have a safe and
pleasant journey back to China.

We wish you a happy
return to your homeland.

May you have happiness
and prosperity.

Let me see.

You have a very long lifeline,
unlike others here.

When we are facing
the light, it's day, yes?

When we are in
shadow, it's night.

So if the sun is just
rising in Lhasa...

that means it is just setting...

in New York City, perhaps.

That's why it can't be the
same time in every place.

- Does that answer your question?
- Yes!

Tell me more.

What else do you
want to know?

In a few moments, you will be
entering the world of mass media.

I can hear news from
all over the planet?

I don't know if they have live
broadcasts from the Tonga Islands...

but generally speaking, yeah.

Do you listen to news
from your country?

From Austria? No, not really.

Give me some light, Ku-Dun.

- Why? It's your home.
- Not anymore it isn't.

But don't you have
friends and family there?

A few friends, no family.

Keep the light steady,
Your Holiness.

Why? Is everyone dead?

Do you know there's another sentence
construction aside from the question?

I was married,
but I'm divorced.

What did you do?

I didn't want a child, so I ran
away to climb a mountain.

You have a child?

Although I've never seen him.

All right. Let me show
you how this thing works.

- Give it all you've got.
- Yes, Mr. Harrer.

Happy Christmas.

Thank you.

- What is this special occasion?
- This is Christmas.

And this is for you,
my friend. Go on.

''I found it in a shop
in the Barkhor.

It has traveled a long way
and finally come back home.

Thank you for your
friendship. Heinrich.''

It is incredible.

Thank you for saving my life.

...must be liberated
from religious oppressors.

Tibetans must be reunited...

- with their brothers and sisters...
- Turn that off.

- of the great family of new China.
- I'm very sorry.

Foreigners control
Tibet's corrupt government.

Our Tibetan comrades must be
liberated from foreign imperialists.

Tibet's million serfs
must be freed.

How many foreigners
are there in Tibet?

You, Heinrich.

Tibet will be liberated.

He asked for you, Mr. Harrer.

They were destroying the village
I was born in, Takster in Amdo.

It was terrible.

It was just a dream. You
had a bad dream. That's all.

But it was so real.
Where did it come from?

My mind could never
imagine such terrible things.

I can't sleep. I'm afraid
the dream will come back.

A couple of insomniacs.

Tell me a story.

Tell me a story about
climbing mountains.

That's one way to fall asleep.
Those stories bore even me.

Then tell me what
you love about it.


The absolute simplicity.
That's what I love.

When you're climbing,
your mind is clear...

freed of all confusions.

You have focus.

And suddenly the light
becomes sharper...

sounds are richer...

and you are filled with...

the deep, powerful
presence of life.

I've only felt that way
one other time.


In your presence, Ku-Dun.

The Chinese have already secured
much of the northern border regions.

They have ransacked a village,
destroyed the monasteries...

burnt scriptures
and defaced holy relics.

We've been told they've
even killed some monks--

- Which village?
- Takster in Amdo.

It's where His
Holiness was born.

Go ahead.

When you were defense minister
to the previous Dalai Lama...

then you wanted to
reorganize the army.

Can you do it now?

The People's Liberation Army
is one million troops strong.

We have 8,000 men
with 50 pieces of artillery...

and a few hundred mortars
and machine guns.

The task is hopeless.

Then you refuse the
appointment, do you?

No. I accept it with honor.

You two gentlemen
know about wars.

What type of weapon
do you recommend?

It seems the Chinese troops are
advancing toward our northern borders.

Where's His Holiness?

The glory of a
British coronation.

Nowhere in the world is there
anything half so wonderful.

Only once or twice in the life of each
one of us comes such a day as this...

when we know that we are
watching history in the making...

when we know that generations
to come will look back on this day...

for May 12, 1937, will be
one of the dates in history...

that schoolchildren will learn about
maybe a thousand years from now.

Every moment the
thrill of excitement--

Do you think someday people will
look at Tibet on the movie screen...

and wonder what
happened to us?

The coronation
coach moves forward.

I don't know.

Don't you have
all the answers?

I don't.

On the same field where Tibetans
traditionally gathered for picnics...

ground was cleared
to build an airstrip...

so that the plane carrying three
Chinese generals could land.

Nearby, the Tibetan army
practiced its maneuvers.

Some of the soldiers
wear ancient mesh armour.

They bring old muskets
and spears as artillery.

The spectacle of a peace-loving nation,
vainly attempting to create a military.

The fears of war
on my friends'faces...

strike a deeply buried
personal chord.

Echoes of the aggressions
of my own country...

the will to overpower
weaker peoples...

bring shame to me.

I shudder to recall how once long
ago I embraced the same beliefs...

how at one time I was, in fact...

no different from
these intolerant Chinese.

The Tibetans say an enemy
is the greatest teacher...

because only an enemy can help
develop patience and compassion.

They believe with rock-like faith
that the power of their religion...

will protect them
against these Chinese.

In preparation for
the generals'visit...

sacred ceremonies are
performed throughout Lhasa.

Sculptures of deities have been
carved with great care in butter.

As the sun melts them, they become
a reminder that nothing lasts.

The rising star of the cabinet,
Minister Ngawang Jigme...

made an offering of his own
to greet the Chinese generals...

and lead them through Lhasa.

Raising their flag is an honor
the Chinese don't deserve.

When you are not strong enough to
fight, you should embrace your enemy.

With both arms around you,
he cannot point a gun at you.

Nothing in politics is a
matter of honor, my friend.

History repeats itself,
even in paradise.

General, we shall have
our audience with His--

General, the monks have been making
this mandala of sand for many days.

It is a symbol of
enlightenment and peace.


We do not sit
lower than he does.

But, General, it is our custom.

I can sit down there.

Your Holiness, this is
General Chang Jing Wu...

General Than Gua,
General Than Gua San.

They wish to have
an audience with you.

May you have happiness
and prosperity.

They are promising regional
autonomy and religious freedom...

if Tibet accepts that China
be its political master.

Until I attain my majority, the
regent is the political leader of Tibet.

You should have requested
an audience with him...

to discuss these important
matters of the world.

My experience of
such things is limited.

I am a simple Buddhist monk.

All I know is the scripture
and the words of Lord Buddha.

He said, ''All beings tremble
before danger and death.

Life is dear to all.

When a man considers this,
he does not kill or cause to kill.''

You must understand.

These words are ingrained
in the heart of every Tibetan.

It is why we are a peaceful people
who reject violence on principle.

I pray you will see this is
our greatest strength...

not our weakness.

I thank you for your visit.

An offering to the
Enlightened Ones.

Religion is poison.

The Chinese have attacked
the Tibetan frontier near Den-Go.

''Today at the dawn, 84,000 troops
of the 1st and 2nd Field Armies...

under the overall command
of General Chang Jing Wu...

attacked the Tibetan
frontier near Den-Go.

The Tibetan army believes an
attack on Chamdo is imminent.

Ngawang Jigme, our newly
appointed governor...

is preparing to send troops
toward the Chinese column...

in order to stop
their progression.''

As you know, Chamdo
is the gateway to Tibet.

If Chamdo falls, the
whole of Tibet will fall.

If I did not know that, I would not
have been appointed governor.

You do realize our troops are committed
to fighting the Chinese to the last man.

They would rather
die than surrender.

Rest assured, there will be no
surrender as long as I am in Chamdo.

Radio Lhasa.


We request permission
to surrender.

- But there will be no surrender--
- I said, ''Radio Lhasa.''

Permission to surrender now.

We lost the war in
11 days, Heinrich.

This surrender is
our death sentence.

And I'm afraid our friend
Ngawang Jigme has issued it.

He abandoned Chamdo and then
destroyed the ammunition dumps.

Without weapons
and ammunition...

there was no hope for the
troops who wanted to fight.

Our guerrillas could have held
the mountain passes for months...

even years.

It would have bought us time to make
appeals for help to other nations.

Now it's lost.

They broke down the gates.

Hello, my friend.

We did what was the
best for our country...

for Tibet.

On the way to Lhasa, I would see
Tibetans wearing these jackets.

''Chinese soldiers. Very nice.

Give food, clothes, money.
Very nice.''

It's strange to me that something
so harmless as a jacket...

could symbolize such a great lie.

After all these years, you still
do not understand Tibetan ways.

To return a gift is unforgivable.

A man who betrays his culture
should not preach about its customs.

There was a time I would
have wished you dead...

but your shame
will be your torture.

And your torture
will be your life.

I wish it to be long.

We pray that His Holiness,
the Dalai Lama...

will be granted the power
to unify his people.

We humbly ask the Tibetan
government to honor our request...

and let the Dalai Lama
attain his political majority.

You have the entire
palace in a panic.

I'm hiding from
the world for a day.

Kind of difficult
in a glasshouse, no?

It's The Moonlight...

by Debussy.

What else do you
know about this song?

Him, him and him.

I hope you've received your invitation
to the enthronement ceremony.

Yes. Thank you.

- It's next week.
- Thank you.

Do I look like an egghead?

No, they suit you.

We have a saying in Tibet...

''If the problem can be solved,
there is no use worrying about it.

If it can't be solved,
worrying will do no good.''

So stop worrying.

You have to leave Tibet.
Your life's at great risk.

Forgive my presumption, but I made
arrangements to get you out safely.

We should leave after the enthronement.
The Chinese would never expect it--

How can I help people if I run away from
them? What kind of leader would I be?

I have to stay here.

Serving others is my
path to liberation.

- Then I don't go either.
- Why not?

Because you are my
path to liberation.

The Buddha said, ''Salvation
does not come from the sight of me.

It demands strenuous
effort and practice.

So work hard and seek
your own salvation diligently.''

I am not your son...

and I never thought
of you as my father.

You were much too
informal with me for that.

Do you ever think about him?

And what do you think about?

It's not the conscious
thought really.

It's just always there.

When I crossed Tibet,
he was with me.

When I came to Lhasa,
he was with me.

When I sit
beside you, he's...

there with me.

I can't even imagine how I pictured
the world without him in it.

Then you should go
home and be his father.

I know.

You have finished
your job with me.

But you have to stay
for my enthronement.

I want you to see me
in all my pomp and glory.

It'd be a pleasure, my friend.

From the government of Tibet...

to Your Holiness, the
fourteenth Dalai Lama...

we ask you to rule your people...

as the spiritual and
temporal leader of Tibet.

By your prayers and
wishes, I humbly accept.

Butter tea. It was
never my cup of tea.

- One was enough.
- Yes, we must follow the custom.

A fresh cup of tea is poured
for the loved one departing.

It sits untouched,
waiting for his return.

May all travelers find
happiness wherever they go.

Without any effort may they
accomplish whatever they set out to do.

And having safely
returned to the shore...

may they be joyfully
reunited with their relatives.

Mr. Harrer...

from His Holiness.

- Hello, Horst.
- Hello, Heinrich.

Rolf, come out to meet him.

No, I don't want to.

May I?

Rolf, take your time.

Well done, son.

Well done.