erik lundegaard

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Monday June 05, 2023

Movie Review: The Eight Mountains (2022)

WARNING: SPOILERS

More like two mountains, isnít it? Alps and Himalayas?

Yes, thereís a lot of peaks within those ranges, Iím talking the metaphor of it all. Pietro isnít exploring the wide world, forever interested in the new and unseen; heís beating a path between two places: Italy and Nepal. That reminds me too much of meóforever returning to the same placesóto seem as wide and wise as the movie wants it to be.

To be honest, Pietro in both his childhood and adult incarnations (Andrea Palma, Luca Marinelli) reminded me of me. Heís the weaker, knobby-kneed half of a deep childhood friendship with Bruno (Francesco Palombelli, Alessandro Borghi), the athletic boy who lives in the mountains and knows how to milk cows and fix roofs and takes him on daring adventures, just as I was the weaker, allergy-ridden half of a deep childhood friendship with Mark N., whose family lived on Lake Harriet, and who was athletic and daring and took me on adventures. I was forever struggling to keep up. I was forever reluctant to go.

As a young adult, Pietro is just aimless. Heís 31, looks back, and wonders what the hell happened. He feels he played with life and lost. He committed to nothing and so has nothing. I related to that, too.

The movie isnít as feel-good as its trailer, thank god, and itís often beautiful to look at (mountains, FFS), and I like the short-hand from writer-directors Felix van Groeningen an Charlotte Vanermeeresch. ďAre you still writing?Ē (Oh, heís a writer.) ďYouíre famous now.Ē (Oh, he had a book published.) I also liked the character of Bruno. He knew what he wanted and how to get it and how to not want more. I just donít get how he turned from the kid who couldnít wait to leave his village to the man who couldnít leave to literally save his own life. How did he get so stunted? The older he got the less interesting he became. Maybe thatís all of us.

My favorite character was Pietroís father, Giovanni (Filippo Timi), a scientist who works and smokes too much but likes getting out into the mountains. We lose him about a third of the way in. There are late-stage revelations that while Pietro was estranged from his father, Giovanni and Bruno continued to hike the different peaks near Brunoís village. Pietro finds a topographic map in which his father color-coded the hikes: one color for him, one for Bruno, and one for Pietro when he was young. Now Pietro takes it upon himself to hike the ones he missed, adding himself to the map. It should be poignant but isnít really. I liked it intellectually but never felt it emotionally. Much of the movie is that way.

Posted at 10:36 AM on Monday June 05, 2023 in category Movie Reviews - 2022