Mountains, mute, are visions always, ecstatic or not. In Jennifer Peedom’s “Mountain,” a seventy-four-minute concatenation of footage from around the world, from Go-Pros to drone surveys, the hectic or harried pursuit of heights is more in evidence than majesty, despite the Vivaldi and Beethoven and other classical musical choices composed or shouted on high by the Australian Chamber Orchestra. The reduction of a reported 2,000 hours of footage shot in fifteen countries on all seven continents is furious collage more than topic-driven or vision-driven documentary. Another layer of subtraction: the narration by Willem Dafoe from a tendentious, windy text taken from British mountaineer Robert MacFarlane’s memoir “Mountains of the Mind”: “To those who are enthralled by mountains, their wonder is beyond all dispute. To those who are not, their allure is a kind of madness.” Awe is not an option, just a willingness to submit to a vigorous beating about the eyes and ears. 74m. (Ray Pride)
“Mountain” opens Friday, June 15 at the Music Box.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.