‘Mountain’

mountainA gloriously immersive and poetic documentary, director Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa, Miracle on Everest) takes us on a journey through our fascination in the stunning majesty that is the world’s highest peaks.

With a beautifully modulated commentary from Willem Defoe, spectacular cinematography from Renan Ozturk (Sherpa, Valley Uprising) and a truly soaring soundtrack from Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Mountain literally leaves you gasping for air – whether it be at the clouds rolling into the Himalayan valleys, the intense close ups of rock climbers on sheer rock faces in Monument Valley or mountain bikers travelling hell for leather on narrow paths high in the Austrian Alps.

It’s simultaneously cerebral and emotive in the extreme – and Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 5 in E Flat Major have never sounded or ‘looked’ better.

Rating: 61%

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‘Sherpa’

Sherpa-347357340-largeIt’s a heartfelt tribute to those frequently forgotten – the Sherpas who do all the dangerous behind-the-scenes work to facilitate the wealthy mountaineers fulfil their dream of conquering the world’s tallest mountain.

Inevitably, Sherpa is awe-inspiring. How could it not be in one of the most dramatically beautiful places on earth? But it also has a story to tell and the daily dangers confronted by the guides. They traverse potentially lethal ice fields 20-30 times in one trip as they move supplies up and down the mountain (the ‘clients’ do it twice). But Sherpa was being filmed in April 2014 – on 18 April, a 14,000 ton ice block sheared away from the mountain, killing 16 Sherpas.

Australian director Jennifer Peedom (Miracle on Everest) revisits the Himalayas to see what is now a mass industry from the Sherpa perspective. It pulls no punches and firmly wears its heart on its sleeve. But, in doing so, Sherpa adopts a strangely singular mesmeric pace. The result is a moving story that becomes blandly told.

Rating: 51%