But what makes this edition of the festival special for India is the scheduled screening of the restored version of Guru Dutt’s classic Pyaasa (1957).
When asked if the actors would climb Everest, Brolin answered emphatically, “Yes”. I liked this line from The Film Stage review (via Cinema Blend), “The performers play it strong, but one feels the air is a little thin”.
As reported by the Sunday Morning Post, the film’s inclusion in the world’s oldest film festival – which runs between September 2 and 12 – had sparked controversy, since it was produced to promote Studio City. Jake Gyllenhaal (Nightcrawler, Brokeback Mountain) seems just as happy in the support crew for this story despite his growing leading man status, and brings an impressive beard to proceedings. “The story happened in the elements”. Both are depicted as passionate climbers who, perhaps unwittingly, unleashed a lethal combination of money, hubris and nature.
This year’s festival opens with Baltasar Kormakur’s thriller Everest about the 1996 alpine tragedy which claimed the lives of New Zealand mountaineers Rob Hall and Andy Harris among others. But Kormakur says he understands the “almost animalistic” desire to pit oneself against the peak.
“It s made of guests, representatives of the public institutions, authorities, whatever, not cinephiles, so you have to find a mix of elements that combine the many expectations of the audience”, he said. “You get to the core of who you are”.
The movie is penned down by William Nicholson and Simon Beaufoy.
Kormakur put his cast through grueling paces, filming in Italy’s Dolomites and near Everest base camp, more than 5,300 meters (17,000 feet) above sea level. After all, who doesn’t thrill to vertiginous helicopter shots of icy slopes, who doesn’t love queasy 3D sequences where we swoop over and under spindly ladder bridges, who doesn’t appreciate the spectacle value of a roiling storm that blots out the blue sky with the force and speed of a megaton bomb?
“There are visual effects but they are visual effects created from endless shooting of real mountains”, he said. I wanted the actors to draw from nature, I didn’t want flamboyant characters like in a lot of Hollywood scripts.
The close proximity and “trying to express as much fear and discomfort” meant they were fighting their “own little war”.
Another buzz title, Tom Hooper-directed “The Danish Girl“, in which Eddie Redmayne plays Lili Ebe, one of the earliest known recipients of male-to-female gender reassignment surgery, screens Saturday in competition.