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Published September 18th 2017
What Draws us to Mountains?
It's easy to be enchanted by mountains. Image courtesy of Mountain - A feature Documentary, Facebook page.
Mountain, is a poetic documentary, exploring the question, what drives people to climb mountains? It's directed by Jennifer Peedom (Sherpa, Solo, Miracle on Everest) and narrated by Willem Dafoe.
This documentary does not tell you what it's like to climb a mountain - it puts you in the action, on a sheer rock face looking down to the valley floor, as chalky fingers cling precariously on tiny rock edges - the metallic jingle-jangle of carabiner's rattling with every step.
However it's not all sweaty palms induced viewing, the cinematography encompasses a holistic view from a rock face, to snow-capped mountain vistas, rising up over glaciers. Like being there, it's something that has to be seen, to be understood.
Willem Dafoe's hypnotic vocals guide you, a reminder there is a purpose to the dramatic scenery and this journey, from the first ascent of Everest to the Red Bull daredevils (whose mission to make every base-jump, heli-ski or ice-climb more thrilling than the last), is not just about the adrenalin seekers, but anyone who has ever stared up at a mountain in wonder or stood atop its summit, mesmerised by the 360-degree view; it's easy to grasp the pull of mountains, though not always so easy, to explain.
To answer the question, What drives us to explore mountains?Mountain provides the ideas but it's up to the viewer to decide, what will entice them to strap on a pair of hiking boots, this documentary simply opens up the path.
The Blue Mountains near Sydney. Photo by Jade Jackson Photography.
The documentary is set to an original score by Richard Tognetti accompanied by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, which is a sensational classical album on its own. Capturing the depth, beauty, and excitement that is often associated with mountains.
Mountain takes the viewer to many locations, without telling us where, it takes us up rocky cliff-faces alongside climbers, without telling us who they are. Making it clear, this isn't a documentary about someone's personal triumph, the star of the show is the mountains, that exist with or without people, yet it's people who have become reliant on mountains to re-energise us.
It's a documentary void of politics and hyperboles. It's more about inspiring the viewer to get out of suburbia and escape to a mountain - both the journey and the destination.
As I glance out my window, seeing the plateaus that make up the Blue Mountains, just outside of Sydney, their rounded peaks calling, begging to be explored, I am reminded of why this documentary is so important. It ignites in us a curiosity, a reminder of what makes us feel alive, and as Willem Dafoe so eloquently said, "we need their wildness, even though mountains are indifferent to us."
As a lover of mountains, I found this documentary engrossing. The cinematography was so perfectly mesmerising, I felt I was there on the mountain. For those who are curious about mountains or perhaps haven't left the safety of urban life in a while, this superb piece of cinema will surely tempt you back to nature. This is definitely a movie you'll want to see on the big screen.
Mountain Soundtrack is available from iTunes and retailers. Image courtesy of Mountain - A Feature Documentary, Facebook page.
The stunning soundtrack to Mountain can be purchased from leading retailers or online at iTunes.
The heartfelt words spoken by Willem Dafoe, the orchestral music composed by Richard Tognetti and the incredible cinematography each work exquisitely on their own but combine them and you have an aural, visual and visceral journey; a poetic masterpiece.
Mountain is released nationwide from 21 September at Event Cinemas, Dendy Cinemas, and Palace Cinemas. Check local listings for session times.