12 dicembre 2013

La tragica spedizione del 1924 di George Mallory e Andrew Irvine per la conquista della cima del monte Everest è stata immortalata dalle immagini girate, in condizioni a dir poco proibitive, da Captain John Noel, cineasta al seguito del gruppo. Il suo film, The Epic of Everest, è stato di recente restaurato dal British Film Institute - lo commenta con lo sguardo del moderno scalatore Mark Horrell al suo blog - e presto sarà disponibile al pubblico in formato dvd e blu-ray. A comporre il commento sonoro è stato chiamato Simon Fisher Turner: l'album è su Mute, anche in un'edizione deluxe che include vinile e cd con materiali aggiuntivi.

Color-tinted archival footage of the majestic ice formations at East Rongbuk Glacier in Tibet forms a dramatic backdrop in today’s clip of the newly restored The Epic Of Everest. The film, shot by Captain John Noel while he documented the ultimately doomed 1924 British attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest, has been restored by the BFI with the help of the intrepid director’s daughter Sandra Noel, who is interviewed below. Simon Fisher Turner - who has previously composed soundtracks to Derek Jarman's Edward II and Caravaggio and has more recently worked with DFA’s dance minimalists, Factory Floor -has provided a multilayered new score featuring Nepalese musicians alongside Throbbing Gristle’s Cosey Fanni Tutti, cellist Peter Gregson and drummer Asaf Sirkis. “I first saw an unrestored copy of the film that had hairs, cuts and gashes all over it, but I was still stunned by its beauty and extraordinary camerawork,” says Turner. Noel used modified cameras and pioneering lenses to shoot in the atrocious conditions, and the expedition itself was as much a battle of untested technology against the elements as it was endurance: the climbers made their ascent relying on hemp rope and temperamental oxygen supplies, wearing tweed jackets over wool undergarments and leather boots studded with nails. A haunting moment comes towards the end of the film when tiny figures move slowly up the steep slope, part of a third and final summit attempt made by 36-year-old George Mallory and 22-year-old Andrew Irvine. They were never seen alive again: Mallory’s body was found in 1999; Irvine still lies undiscovered on the mountain.