Only three centuries ago, setting out to climb a mountain would have been considered close to lunacy. The idea scarcely existed that wild landscapes might hold any sort of attraction. Mountains were places of peril, not beauty. How then have mountains come to hold us spellbound, drawing us into their dominion, often at the cost of our lives?
By the time Mount Everest was vanquished in the mid-twentieth century, mountaineering had become a quest for mastery rather than a search for mystery. Mountains were seen as adversaries to be overcome; places where fear could be taken to the edge – or beyond.
Millions are now enchanted by the magic of mountains. And where once their remoteness protected their purity, mountains have today become theatres for recreation: managed and commodified as parks and playgrounds. But mountains are so much more than an escape, or an enemy to be overcome. Their greatest value lies in their power to inspire wonder and awe: to remind us of the limits of our schemes and ambition.
The Australians Jen Peedom, director of Sherpa, and Richard Tognetti, artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, drove this very international collaboration that also involved US-based cinematographer Renan Ozturk, British writer Robert Macfarlane and American actor Willem Dafoe (narrator). Filmed by the world’s leading high altitude cinematographers, Mountain features musical works by Chopin, Grieg, Vivaldi, Beethoven and Tognetti.
Jen Peedom is a BAFTA nominated director, well known for her gripping, intimate portraits of people in extreme circumstances. Her credits include the internationally renowned documentaries Sherpa, Miracle On Everest, Living The End and Solo, which played in the Official Selection of major documentary festivals including IDFA and Sheffield and won numerous awards including an AFI for Best Documentary.
Australian violinist, conductor and composer Richard Tognetti was born in Canberra and raised in Wollongong. He has established an international reputation for his compelling performances and artistic individualism. Richard was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2010. He holds honorary doctorates from three Australian universities and was made a National Living Treasure in 1999.
Mountain is screening at selected cinemas nationally. For more information, visit: www.madmanfilms.com.au for details.
Image: Yoshiko Mayazaki heading back up to the Aiguille du Midi as a winter storm clears for sunset (film still)