A new summit in mountain sports documentary – with characters and a plot to rival many a feature, Meru captures the sheer physical extremity of two attempts to make the first ascent of a precipitous Himalayan peak.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2015
“With jaw-dropping cinematography… and direct access to the trials, drive and anxieties of its renowned mountain climbing subjects, Meru is a hybrid of gorgeous nature photography and riveting nonfictional storytelling. Titled after Mount Meru, a 21,000 ft. Himalayan peak that looms over the Ganges River and features the iconic ‘Shark’s Fin’, a massive sheer granite spine jutting out of the mountain’s face into sub-zero degreed thin-aired space, the film focuses on three mountaineers as they take on the challenge to become the first to ascend its peak.
Conrad Anker, famous for his ascents in Patagonia, Antarctica and the Himalayas; Meru co-director Jimmy Chin, an athlete distinguished equally for his skills in photography, climbing and extreme sports; and Renan Ozturk, a relative newcomer in this group, but already internationally respected as a free climber and visual artist, teamed up in 2008 to reach the summit, but dishearteningly and dangerously failed with a mere 100 meters to go. Amidst personal and professional risks… the climbers make the daring decision to make one more attempt.” — Sean Uyehara, San Francisco International Film Festival
“The film’s incredible imagery shows daily life in the vertical realm – captured by the three climbers themselves and one base camp manager… Propelled by an excellent score and unflinching commentary from [writer Jon] Krakauer, this film goes deep into a world of alpinism that is austere and alien to most people and breaks it down to celebrate the struggles and triumphs of the human spirit.” — Mary Anne Potts, NationalGeographic.com