Friday, 19 December 2008

North Face

Yesterday we got to go to a preview screening of a new German film called 'Nordwand' (North Face). It's all about two German mountaineers and their attempt to climb the north face of the Eiger Mountain in the 1930s. I had no knowledge of the history of this event beforehand so I didn't know if it was a successful attempt or not so I don't want to give away anything of the story if you haven't seen it.
I would like to talk a little about the other aspects of the film making though because I thought it was beautifully shot and the performances really drew me in.
The cinematography of the Eiger was both beautiful and grim. At moments it would appear peaceful and serene and then it could completely change and become unforgiving and uncaring. For me it was almost another character on screen.
The two main performances of the German climbers were also totally engaging. You really felt how difficult it must have been to scale every metre of the mountain and their endurance and skill as mountain climbers were both stretched to the limits during their ascent. There were a few white knuckle moments for me particularly when they had to 'traverse' round a difficult section of the mountain.
The sound effects and make-up were also excellent and only helped to build an extra layer of reality into the story. The howling of the wind and the creaking of snow against rock really built an atmosphere of isolation and the effects of the freezing weather on the men and how quickly it took it's toll on them was frightening.
If you get a chance to see it then I totally recommend it.Here's a quick sketch I did afterwards..

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