May 9, 2018
Nothing gets our pulse pounding faster than viewing a documentary that defies stuffy notions of what the genre is “supposed” to look and feel like. One such offering is the new documentary by Australian director Jen Peedom called “Mountain.”
This film experience is almost more like a concert than a movie. And that makes sense when you consider that it was first conceived as a visual collaboration between Peedom and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. As noted in a review in Outside magazine, scenes unfold without plot or context, keep the focus on breathtaking high-altitude cinematography, which was headed up by mountaineer-filmmaker Renan Ozturk. The equally majestic score was created by the Australian Chamber Orchestra’s Richard Tognetti.
The film contains no dialogue, just Willem Dafoe’s sonorous and gravelly voice reciting a quite minimal script penned by Robert Macfarlane, author of the climbing memoir “Mountains of the Mind.” Peedom told Outside that “some people don’t really get the film at all. For others, it’s like a religious experience.” Screening this month at the Telluride Mountain film festival, “Mountain” has become the third highest-grossing Australian documentary in history. Reviewers assert that the combination of jagged peaks and violins is nothing short of thrilling. Additionally, a montage of lava-spewing volcanoes shows how the world’s peaks first rose up from the ocean floor–and how mightily things have changed since then. As Willem Dafoe intones, the mountains “were here long before we were even dreamed of. They watched us arrive. They will watch us leave.” Keep an eye out for this film headed your way. It’s well-worth a peek….or peak!