How many lives- real people- must die to force changes?
That is a question asked likely in every social and economic and political battle that wages. But, in this film, it effectively and poignantly is asked and answered.
This question is asked against the grand Himalayan mountains at the base of the tallest mountain in the world, Everest. And I was overtaken and carried along in the outpour of emotion from the Sherpa men and women who face the possibility of death each time one of the guides step onto the mountain.
These men show little emotion, but when a large group of Sherpa men die (16) carrying supplies up an ice flow from a falling boulder of ice, all comes to a stop as heartache, loss, indignation, and disrespect come to heads with western exploration and irreverent treatment of the mother mountain.
The film is well-produced and likely will receive wide distribution, with Universal Pictures slapped on at the beginning of the film. It deserves it, because this is the first film that attempts to point the camera on the Sherpa people group who send their men up Everest each year to put food on their tables.
This is no ‘Into Thin Air’, as their is no story of man overcoming nature or their mental and physical limits. We take the vernier off mountain climbing for the focus to be put on the guides- the men of the Sherpa- who carry the rich, westerners up the mountain.
Fit this film into your must-see list for its cinematography, originality, and intimate approach to the Sherpa culture, while maintaining the respect for the feats of mountaineering and the grey area that exists as the lines are attempted to be drawn between the Everest client and the Sherpa.
Apparently, those lines are blurring a lot. And we shall see what that means for the future of Everest climbing.