Clarke was joined on the red carpet by “Everest” co-stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Keira Knightley and Josh Brolin as well as Icelandic director Baltasar Kormakur to debut the epic docu-drama depicting a real disaster that killed five people on the world’s highest mountain in May, 1996.
Given that such poignant details of the tragedy were widely publicised at the time, the challenge for Kormakur was to construct a narrative capable of retaining viewers’ attention despite majority knowing how the story ends.
The 72nd Venice Movie Pageant opens Wednesday, adopted later in September by film extravaganzas in Toronto, Telluride and New York.
“I am a Mexican living in Europe and I have always felt welcome”.
“Part of telling the story is telling it in the elements”, said Kormakur, who took his cast high into the Himalayas and imported snow to England’s Pinewood Studios in his quest for authenticity. “And we had to evacuate people with a helicopter pretty quickly”.
“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.
The film, written by Simon Beaufoy (“127 Hours“) and William Nicholson (“Unbroken“), opens with a series of titles explaining the significance of its lead character Rob Hall (Jason Clarke) – the man who pioneered the idea of bringing expeditions to the summit as a job essentially making Everest into a business.
On a purely cinematic level that commitment shows, and along with the impressive cinematography experienced on IMAX in 3D especially, you will feel like you are there on that mountain yourself. However, in previous year Alejandro Gonzalez’s film “Birdman” was successful in making huge impression as the festival’s opening film and won the Oscars.
The mixture of Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson and Ralph Fiennes might make waves in Luca Guadagnino’s drama “A Greater Splash”, whereas Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult discover love in a harmful time in Drake Doremus’ futuristic function “Equals“.
The 1996 Everest disaster has been the subject of several books, including John Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air“, and debate still rages about whether mistakes were made by Hall and Fischer.
“There’s a tremendous responsibility trying to re-create something which has happened”, Gyllenhaal said at the “Everest” Lido press conference.