Archive for the ‘Felix van Groeningen’ Category

Last Child in the Village

The Eight Mountains

Directors: Felix van Groeningen & Charlotte Vandermeersch

Cast: Luca Marinelli, Alessandro Borghi, Elisabetta Mazzullo, Filippo Timi  

Running Time: 2 hours and 27 minutes

Film Rating: 7.5 out of 10

Language: Italian with English Subtitles

Festival: European Film Festival

Belgian directing duo Felix van Groeningen & Charlotte Vandermeersch present the slightly long winded friendship film The Eight Mountains about two young boys who become friends in August 1984 and this film tracks their friendship as they grow into teenagers and eventually into adults.

Both boys are the only child of a family, Pietro Guasti and Bruno Guglielmina become firm friends as they spend the idyllic summers together in the Italian Alps. Pietro is a city boy from Turin with a strict father, Giovanni played by Filippo Timi while Bruno is a child of nature and literally the last child in the village, a remote place in the alps filled with beautiful mountains and stunning scenery but sparsely populated.

As the years go by, Pietro struggles to find his own identity as a man and has a fall out with his aging father although all the time attempting to be a writer and describe his experiences from mountain climbing to studying literature. Bruno just wants to remain in the same area and starts isolating emotionally as he attaches himself more to the natural environment.

Both men follow different dreams although as friends they unite to build a chalet in memory of Pietro’s father. This arduous task completed during the summer months cements their long-time friendship although soon love and self-exploration changes their dynamic. Bruno meets a lovely woman Lara played by Elisabetta Mazzullo and they have a child together, while he dreams of opening his own cheese making farm.

Pietro stretches his wings and travels to Nepal to climb the Himalayas and gain a perspective on his Italian childhood and the lost years that he can’t get back with his late father.

The Eight Mountains is a fascinating if slow moving story of the progression of a male friendship from boyhood until adulthood, all the highs and lows, the family tragedy and the complex relationships. Unfortunately with two directors, this film while interesting does suffer from a lack uniformity regarding cinematic vision.

With spectacular scenery and some insightful philosophical approaches to the fickle nature of human relationships, The Eight Mountains is a story of two men whose trajectories start the same but their destinies are vastly different.

Fortunately both Luca Marinelli (The Great Beauty) and Alessandro Borghi are excellent as the lifelong friends Pietro and Bruno. If audiences enjoy a slow burning tale of platonic friendship, then they will enjoy The Eight Mountains, an interesting story which needed to be edited properly and have a far superior soundtrack. This film’s soundtrack was completely incongruous with the narrative.

While the scenery is gorgeous, The Eight Mountains gets a film rating of 7.5 out of 10 and the storyline needed more conflict to make this friendship narrative more exciting and humorous.

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