“The Eight Mountains” The long friendship of two boys, their dreams and challenges

An epic journey of friendship and self-discovery set in the breathtaking Italian Alps, The Eight Mountains is a landmark cinematic experience as intimate as it is monumental, as deep as it is expansive. Adapting the award-winning novel by Paolo Cognetti, directors Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch (The Broken Circle Breakdown) portray through observant detail and stunning landscape photography the profound, complex relationship between Pietro (Luca Marinelli) and Bruno (Alessandro Borghi), who first meet as children when Pietro’s Turin family vacations in an isolated village at the base of the Alpine slopes. As they mature, Pietro becomes estranged from his business-minded father (Filippo Timi) even as Bruno-emotionally abandoned by his own father-takes up the role of surrogate son. Pietro’s father’s death reunites the two in realizing his dream of constructing a cabin on the Alps, and the project and subsequent explorations of the awe-inspiring mountain range bond Pietro and Bruno in a shared purpose. Yet despite their connection, the purity of nature and the demands of society both threaten to drive the men to pursue different, possibly irrevocably divergent paths on the vertiginous terrain of life. Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt14641542/
CategoryDetail
Directed byFelix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch
Screenplay byFelix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch
Based onLe otto montagne by Paolo Cognetti
Produced byMario Gianani, Lorenzo Gangarossa
StarringLuca Marinelli, Alessandro Borghi
Distributed byVision Distribution (Italy), Kinepolis Film Distribution (Belgium), Pyramide Films (France)
Running Time147 minutes
CountriesItaly, Belgium, France
Box Office$11.2 million

My review

This work may seem difficult to understand at first glance, but upon closer examination, it beautifully depicts the complexity of human relationships and the beauty of nature.

The story, with its magnificent landscapes and deep human connections, has an unpredictable charm when watched for the first time. As the title suggests, mountains play an important role, and the visuals highlight the beauty of these natural landscapes. The movie features calming scenes such as tranquil lakes and snow-covered mountain peaks. Set against these grand natural backdrops, the movie explores deep themes like the flow of time and the purpose of life. Particularly impressive is the portrayal of the relationship between humans and nature, and the tension between fate and choice. Daniel Norgren’s moving music adds further depth to these elements, increasing the emotional weight of the story. While the atmosphere is soothing, grasping the full scope of the story is challenging. The movie begins with the meeting of two boys, Pietro and Bruno, and through their growth and friendship, it searches for the meaning of life. As the story progresses, significant changes occur in their relationship, taking the viewer on an even deeper emotional journey. The beginning appears to focus on setting the scene and encouraging the viewer to empathize with the characters.

The pacing of the settings and scene transitions are fast, which can be understood as an attempt to visualize the rich content of the original novel. The novel belongs to Italian literature, and this might be the reason for its complexity. The effort to transform the novel’s content into visuals is felt, but the amount of information depends on the viewer’s ability to interpret it. Even understanding this, the transition of ages is abrupt (the scenes switch from ages 12 to 17 to 31).

Reading the original novel clarifies how the complex themes and characters of the novel have been visualized in the movie. Both the novel and the movie have different approaches but share the same emotional depth. Those who have read the book seem quite satisfied, and I was able to understand a bit more after touching upon it. In short, the title and the point this work wants to make touch upon the world of ancient India. Understanding the concept of Mount Sumeru (Sumeru Mountain) makes it somewhat clear what the work is trying to convey. From this perspective, the title can be considered quite excellent.

It offers more than just a story about climbing. While watching, I was deeply made to think about my own life and friendships. This work brilliantly reflects the depth and complexity of the human heart, evoking strong empathy in the viewer. In the end, it provides a moving experience that goes beyond just beautiful scenery, making one think about the true value of life and friendship. For the viewer, the end of the movie awaits with new perspectives and deep emotions. It is a work of value that stays in the heart, representing the interaction and values of people and life.

Impressive reviews from other watchers

Positive

Beautiful film about mountains and friendship

Felix Van Groeningen, the director of The Eight Mountains, was born and raised in an area that’s as flat as a pancake. I know, because I live there. There are no mountains in Flanders.

Maybe it takes a flatlander like Van Groeningen to really appreciate the beauty of mountains. His film starts with magnificent images of the Italian Alps, the area where The Eight Mountains takes place. In fact, the whole movie seems to be an ode to the beauty of the mountains. The vistas from the highest summits and the calm of a mountain lake: the images are magnificent.

And so is the story of the two friends, who both love those mountains. As a child, city dweller Pietro befriends Bruno, who lives in a small mountain village. Their friendship continues when they are adults. The film shows how they both try to shape their lives, each in their own way. Both are drawn to the mountains, but in different ways.

Van Groeningen, together with his wife Charlotte Vandermeersch, has made a beautiful and poetic movie about the friendship between Bruno and Pietro. The two men don’t show their emotions easily, and the film doesn’t aim for easy effects either. In an understated, subtle way, the movie shows how their lives divert, but remain connected through their mutual love for the mountains. It’s well directed, well acted and beautifully filmed. This film will find a natural audience: the readers of Paolo Cognetti’s bestseller it’s based on. But those who haven’t read the book might also be fascinated by the friendship between Pietro and Bruno.

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw8754732/

Negative

Meh

I haven’t read the book but based on the movie alone I must say the characters and storyline didn’t engage me at all. The movie doesn’t do much to make the audience get involved in the characters’ psyche nor does it attempt to make you interested through the plot. You basically listen to the narrator explaining (with little success) how the author sees things topped by sparsely distributed conversation between the two main characters. On the plus side, the scenery was visually appealing but I must say there are tons of such clips available on the internet these days, you don’t need to go to a movie to see that. The Eight Mountains was a disappointment.

https://www.imdb.com/review/rw8882368/

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