Seven Years in Tibet (1997) Script

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.

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 of bandits.

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 must join 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.

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 armor.

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.

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.