Encountereds. I came, I saw, I commented.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jean-Jacques Annaud - Seven Years in Tibet (3)

Expecting a filmed version of Harrer's memoir, lending visuals and speed to the somewhat sluggish pace and skeletal outlines of the book, I was annoyed to see many changes in plot and a focus on the superficial events rather than their meaning. I also didn't like the fact that in a movie about foreign places and experiences of strange cultures, everybody speaks english wich an accent to indicate the language used, except for a few places with correct language chunks thrown in. The latter double the problem, because now there's not only an annoying accent, it's also inconsisten. Harrer's trek across the alien planes and up the bureaucracy of an unknown and bewildering country here comes down to lack of food, injured feet and a little brush with robbers; the fascination with the double nature of the wise leader/child is overshadowed by a dubious plotline of paternal guilt, and the overdramatized development of Harrer from cliched asshole to understanding wise man is in itself a chliche that could have done with some development. The chinese invasion in the end adds nothing but an uneasy feeling of activism, and the closeing scene in Austria is confusing. The cinematography is great though, even if it was shot in the Andes, because the Chinese wouldn't allow filming in the Himalaya. I found myself oddly touched to find that Harrer died not a week ago, as though my having watched this movie so close to his death made it more meaningful. Mysteries of the human mind.


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