Screened as part of NZIFF 2017
Australian filmmaker Jennifer Peedom follows her extraordinary Sherpa with a giant-screen celebration of the allure of the mountains, created in collaboration with the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Spectacular images, shot in 21 countries by legendary mountaineer/cinematographer Renan Ozturk (Meru, Sherpa) and others, have been cut together thematically to an orchestral score drawing on Chopin, Grieg, Vivaldi, Beethoven and new works by Richard Tognetti. The orchestra will perform live when the film tours Australia in August, but we’re delighted to have secured big-screen engagements for the soundtracked version.
Drawing from Robert Macfarlane’s book Mountain, read on the soundtrack by Willem Dafoe, the film considers the changes in humanity’s relationship to mountains over recent times. Not so long ago they represented the divine and mysterious; to many indigenous communities living on their flanks they always will. By the time Hillary and Tenzing ascended Everest, mountains had been colonised by the west and filled our imaginations as personal challenges to be overcome.
That spirit of conquest may be hard to separate from the risks taken to capture the exultant top-of-the-world imagery that makes this film such an exhilarating experience. As Peedom offers us a jaw-dropping montage of people throwing themselves off precipices for the sheer thrill of it, her film revels both in the dramatic grandeur of the mountains and in the glorious irrationality which may be the only sane human response.