Meru Documentary

Meru Documentary
For viewers and critics alike, climbing action films on are
defined by big Hollywood production like The Mountain starring
Spencer Tracey, The Eiger Sanction starring Clint Eastwood, Cliffhanger
starring Sylvester Stallone, and ensemble films belonging to the same genre
like K2, The Vertical Limit and recently Everest.
Documentaries based on the adventures of real-life climbers
are another experience: The new documentary Meru is one of those and it
is finally arrives on BluRay and Video-On-Demand. Meru is tracking down three
climbers—Jimmy Chin, Conrad Anker and Renan Ozturk—as they attempt to scale the
top of the near-impossible Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru, nestled on the Indian
Himalayas. Directed by Chin, the film shows many aspects of human resistance,
survival and friendship with meditation on life and death. The film is also
co-directed by Jimmy Chin’s wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi who went along with
the other climbers for the ride. Their 2008 trip lasted for seven days, where they
were caught in a snowstorm and the climb lasted three times more than its
anticipated period. Three years later, the trio return to Meru despite a couple
of near fatal accidents that have left two of them severely traumatized physically
and psychologically.
According to professional climbers, the Meru climbing is
extremely difficult as it requires a high level of competency in every type of
climbing: mixed climbing, ice climbing, snow climbing, rock climbing, aid
climbing. Each one of the climbers had one camera and several lenses. For the obviously
power constraints and storage constraints, the crew had to be selective in what
to shoot and when.
The filmmakers succeeded to edit the interviews and the
climbing shots of to explain how they got together and describe their
experiences on Meru. Anker’s friend and fellow climber, Jon Krakauer, who wrote
“Into Thin Air” which was made into Everest. After these two
trips, the filmmakers spent months  editing and assembling all the footage into the
documentary before travelling the following year for three months on Everest
with David Breashears and Stephen Daldry shooting second unit footage for  Everest. Working bigger budget
productions like Everest had helped the filmmakers/climbers to understand all
the moving parts and aspects of filmmaking beyond the shooting like producing
and directing. For Sure, this documentary will appeals to climbers since it
shows how they feel, think, and experience. But also, owners of big home
theatre system will enjoy the visuals and music score in addition to the
real-life sounds on their screens. 

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Sherif M. Awad
Sherif M. Awad
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