\Camp, traveling on foot for hundreds of miles in severe weather conditions, injuries and frostbite- are accepted into the home of a high government official. The draw of the Tibetan culture and the Holy City is so strong that Heinrich and Peter decide to stay there, and Peter even ends up marrying the town seamstress or “ tailor, ” as she so unequivocally points out, after both men compete for her affections and Peter ends up winning. They come to refer to the city as Paradise, and indeed after the invasion of the Chinese under the command of Mao Tse Tung, one has a definite feeling of Paradise Lost. The remoteness and mystery of the city are a key part of the movie, and appear to be part of the director’ s intention of showing Tibet as an almost otherworldly place with a moral fiber that most people can only hope to aspire to, a place of true holiness, and not just a rigidity based on routines and rituals with no real substance to it.
The young actor playing the part of the Dalai Lama child owns the role, masterfully conveying a ruler who, despite himself and the regal demeanor expected of him, shows a playful innocence typical not only of a child, but also of a true spiritual leader capable of teaching and guiding, as so often observed in other Holy Men who have gone down in history and who we have been fortunate enough to learn about through books and the personal accounts of those who knew them. Another important scene that so eloquently speaks of the nature of the people and the city is when Heinrich talks about the preparations for defending the city from the Chinese invasion, saying, “ The spectacle of a peace-loving nation, vainly attempting to create a military! ” while watching the men attempt to gather weapons and organize themselves.
He recalls how once he was a part of the German Nazis, who not too long ago had had the same agenda as China, that of overpowering weaker peoples, drawing an important parallel between Tibet’ s situation with the Chinese and the situation of countries such as Poland during the period of World War II.
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