Feb 25, 2019
BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE OSCAR
The movie FREE SOLO was recognized last night at the Oscars, it was awarded the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. When I read the updates this morning, I was not surprised. Now maybe more people will take time to see the wonderful, on the edge of your seat film. Even if you have no interest in rock climbing, the documentary is about so much more.
Check out my FREE SOLO POST in January, link below
If you take the time to watch FREE SOLO, I'm here to tell you that you then have to consider watching MERU. I found out about the documentary MERU when I was researching Jimmy Chin, one of the principals that filmed and produced FREE SOLO. I'm always curious as to what drives someone to be so focused on a particular passion in their lives, especially when it's so dangerous.
In 2015 MERU was released, you can watch on NETFLIX. This documentary is equally as magnificent and spectacular and yes scary to watch. And it is completely different than FREE SOLO. Meru is a 2015 documentary film chronicling the first ascent of the "Shark's Fin" route on Meru Peak in the Indian Himalayas. It was co-directed by married couple Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.
There are scenes in MERU, images that I will never forget. I won't share all of them, one that comes immediately to mind, three climbers in a tent like shelter, hanging from the side of this peak at 20,000+ feet altitude as they ride out a storm. It is cold, very very cold. It is windy, grey, they are cramped in a small space, layers and layers of clothing, trying to conserve their bodies energy and heat. How do they survive the conditions and the fear ? Much like the climber in Free Solo, somehow they have to be able to disassociate the experience from being afraid. I was afraid watching the movie, how people prepare and manage through something like this is not possible for me to understand.
My other immediate image is the night sky, the photos of the night sky are like a dream. I love stars and climbing Meru provided them vistas of the night sky that are glorious. In some of the shots, there are so many stars in the dark night sky, the view is almost unreal. I actually stopped the movie so I could look again and again. Stars are one of my most favorite manifestations of the universe.
Meru's story is completely different than FREE SOLO. One of the major themes is trust along with what a person is truly capable of if they have passion and drive in their hearts and mind. And there are a few surprises along the way, life events and activities I was not expecting.
If you have the slightest interest in this type of subject matter, I recommend taking the time to watch it. The link below will take you to the MERU trailer.
I will certainly keep an eye out for what's next for Jimmy Chin and his wife, Elizabeth Chai. 2015, Meru, 2018 Free Solo, 2019 an Oscar. While I don't have any interest in being a rock climber, not even a small boulder climber, (I'm OK with hiking) I'm certainly a fan of their work, the story telling, their photography and their cinematography.
If you watch either of these films, let me know your thoughts.