Playing as part of the MV Film Center’s International Film Festival on Thursday, Sept. 7, is “The Eight Mountains.” Adapted from the novel by Paolo Cognelli, this spectacular film begins with a childhood friendship in the Italian alps between Pietro (Luca Marinelli) and Bruno (Alessandro Borghi). The title is a reference to the Buddhist concept of the world as composed of eight mountain ranges separated by eight seas. Directors Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch won the Cannes Jury Prize. In addition, it picked up multiple awards at film festivals all over the world, and earned several nominations, includuing for Best Actor, Supporting Actor, and Adapted Screenplay.
The backdrop for these two 11-year-old boys is the breathtaking setting in the alps where they spend their childhood summers in the village of Grana. Pietro comes from a middle-class Turin family vacationing summers in Grana with his aunt and uncle. Seeing Bruno’s potential, Pietro’s parents offer to adopt him so he can go to school in Turin, but Pietro protests the idea of removing his friend from the mountains that are so much a part of his life. In the meantime, Bruno’s working-class father separates the two boys, sending Bruno to work in construction.
The two go their separate ways until adulthood, when they renew their friendship and discover a collection of rocks and wood left by Pietro’s late father to build a cabin. The film follows the months of their work on the cabin, and just as important are the shots of the surrounding mountains, valleys, lakes, and streams. When Pietro returns with his friend Lara to visit Bruno, Bruno and Lara become a couple and the parents of a daughter.
As their friendship continues to develop, it becomes increasingly clear how different these two men are. Pietro seeks a life as a writer and eventually publishes a book, while Bruno remains increasingly committed to a life in the mountains. Pietro travels to Nepal and eventually builds a life there, returning to visit Bruno who, he learns, has left Lara and his daughter for a life alone in the mountains.
“The Eight Mountains” is a remarkable tale about the lives of these two men and their evolving friendship. The spectacular alpine setting makes it especially worth viewing.
Information and tickets for “The Eight Mountains” are available at mvfilmsociety.com.