Film: Everest

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Starring: Jason Clarkem Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson, Jake Gyllenhaal.

2015’s Venice Film Festival opens with ‘Everest’ a 3D biographical disaster thriller-adventure that accounts the dramatic events that occurred during the 1996 summit on Mount Everest.

Director Baltasar Kormákur explains how the adaptation was shaped to be as realistic as possible.

There are many accounts of what occurred in 1996, how did you manage to fuse them together, balancing all the stories?

The main focus was the intention to tell the story of an ensemble. Books are told from first person accounts. Therefore when we were preparing the movie we tried to learn as much as possible on what happened. I was concerned about the relationship between guide and client to show the various aspects of climbing up a mountain.

The ensemble-cast is full of supporting characters, but they all seem to be important elements of the story…

There are no minor characters, even the smaller roles on screen are crucial in the story, for instance the rescue team creates an important emotional impact as the narrative unfolds.

How was production like – shooting partly on location and partly in studios?

Shooting began in Nepal – Katmandu – then we had to walk almost up to basecamp. We had helicopters. We shot in the memorials and people had to evacuate because people started to be shaken. We also used the Dolomites,  on the border of Austria and Italy and eventually added studio stuff. But the visual effects were created through real footage.

Did the actors go through a rough time?

There were moments of peril but no one was put in real danger. I put them through a lot of pain but no injury. I wanted the actors to draw from nature, I didn’t want flamboyant characters like in a lot of Hollywood scripts. I wanted intimacy of the acting.

How hard was it to work on a real life tragedy, confronting yourself with people who had actually lived the drama? 

You deal with people’s lives and try to be truthful to them and yourself. You want to tell a real story and have to find balance. We tried to be as real as possible. The generosity of the people who lived this event and shared it with us helped us a lot.

What is the greatest lesson learnt up in the mountains and in the making of this film?

That you get to the real core of who you are when you confront yourself with nature.

Technical: B+

Acting: B+

Story: B-

Overall: B

Written by: Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Baltasar Kormákur Talks Everest at Venice 72

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi, is a film critic, culture and foreign affairs reporter, screenwriter, film-maker and visual artist. She studied in a British school in Milan, graduated in Political Sciences, got her Masters in screenwriting and film production and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York and Los Angeles. Chiara’s “Material Puns” use wordplay to weld the title of the painting with the materials placed on canvas, through an ironic reinterpretation of Pop-Art, Dadaism and Ready Made. She exhibited her artwork in Milan, Rome, Venice, London, Oxford, Paris and Manhattan. Chiara works as a reporter for online, print, radio and television and also as a film festival PR/publicist. As a bi-lingual journalist (English and Italian), who is also fluent in French and Spanish, she is a member of the Foreign Press Association in New York, the Women Film Critics Circle in New York, the Italian Association of Journalists in Milan and the Federation of Film Critics of Europe and the Mediterranean. Chiara is also a Professor of Phenomenology of Contemporary Arts at IED University in Milan.

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