Customer Review

23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, shame about the film..., 28 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Seven Years in Tibet (Flamingo Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I read the book well before production of the film was even announced. I found the book to be well written in describing the author's journey, right from his internment on attempting to climb Nanga Parbat (Unsere Berg to the German / Austrain team attempting to climb it) and his escape and travel into Tibet. He goes on to describe Tibet prior to the Chinese arrival, a world in which World War II seems to have no relevance. The menace of the Chinese becomes apparent increasingly so later in the book when it is clear so-called 'liberation' is inevitable.
If you've seen the film, the book especially later on is a different story. Firstly, the film only touches upon Harrer's and Aufschnaiter's journey to reach Lhasa and on their encounter with the Khampa bandits who try to separate them and rob them (irony that later the Khampas were those that put up the longest fight against the Chinese - all the way up to 1974).
The film also places the Chinese People's Liberation Army in Lhasa at the same time as Harrer - this certainly did not happen. When Harrer left Lhasa, the Chinese had only advanced so far into Tibet and halted to force the 17 point agreement on the Tibetans and were still a significant distance away.
I respect 'patriciamcleary's comment that she enjoyed the film more than the book. I'm afraid I'm of the oppostie view basically because of the inaccuracies and omissions from the film. However, I can appreciate that for some, the film might be an easier going way of appreciating the situation in the run up to the Chinese invasion (although heavily changed to the book).
To sum up, an easy to follow book that gave me a picture of Tibet different to that which I saw when I travelled to Tibet in the summer of 1998 (admittedly I went there as a tourist). The Chinese have taken away much of what made this admittedly far from perfect former Shangri La special.
Ian (alias Beefy_SAFC)
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 Dec 2007 03:17:11 GMT
I don't think the film is a shame; it's obvious that you can't include all details, situations, landscapes, etc described in a book into a film...it never happends. Despite of all lacking details appearing in the book, I think the film recreates a similar feeling about Heinrichs character, Dalais character and the one of Tibetans and their beautiful nation.
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