Gert went the other day to see this spectacular film, a collaboration between Australian director Jennifer Peedom, cinematographer Renan Ozturk, the Scottish nature writer Robert Macfarlane and the Australian Chamber Orchestra under Richard Tognetti (whose idea it was).
The opening shot of a free climber halfway up a vertical rock face that falls down down down beneath him will send a shiver down your spine, unless you’re an adrenaline junkie. There are lots of people in this film doing hair-raising things at height. There’s marvellous footage of mountaineers on the great peaks of the world – including Everest, where “you don’t climb, you queue.” And it’s true; there’s a queue as far as you can see, shuffling through the snow. (Peedom’s first film Sherpa was a critique of the Everest industry). There are exultant skiiers and ski-jumpers doing tricks on ramps and hoops of snow and ice. There’s a man riding a bike – not a motorbike, a pedal-bike – across what looks like the outcrops of the Colorado desert, bouncing over rocks and skirting precipices at top speed. There are wingsuiters like huge beetles gliding and swooping along rock faces and through chasms.
And over all there’s the amazing and changeable beauty of mountains, captured in sweeping shots that show the light fitting across them, rising up to swallow them and seeping away to reveal them. There are grand aerial shots and close-ups from climbers’ and skiers’ Go-Pros – “from the best and the worst of cameras”, in Peedom’s own words. I especially loved the beautiful interior shots of Nepalese temples.
The voice over is from Macfarlane’s classic Mountains Of The Mind and the music ranges from Beethoven and Vivaldi to Arvo Pärt. See it if you can.