Review of Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
Seen in 2020.
“A man who betrays his culture should not preach about its customs”, says the USA’s Brad Pitt, in an indeterminate accent, as an Austrian member of the Nazi party, speaking an indeterminate language on a French director’s set in Argentina, preaching about the customs of a country on the opposite side of the world.
As a 1990s epic of personal redemption—a sportsman’s belated coming of age—it’s good. As a movie about history, not so much. The only plausible reason given for the Chinese invasion of Tibet, which is the subject of the last 45 minutes of the film, is a Chinese general’s line: “Religion is poison”. It is, but that’s not why the PRC annexed Tibet. This film is angled like a promotion for the Dalai Lama, an undemocratic promoter of pseudoscience.