By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated October 17, 1997 at 04:00 AM EDT

Brad Pitt, with Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy-blond hair, plays Heinrich Harrer, the Austrian mountaineer whose unlikely deep friendship with the boy Dalai Lama in the early 1940s taught the self-centered Westerner (oh, right, and Nazi storm trooper) compassion and spiritual grace. The spark of the holy flickers only fitfully in all the wind in this production, but under the direction of Jean-Jacques Annaud, the film is at its best re-creating the serene exoticism of Tibet. B-