Bruno belongs to the mountains. His family are one with the landscape. When Pietro arrives from Turin – his father has purchased a cottage as a summer retreat – the boys become fast friends. For a while, Pietro’s parents even try to arrange for a better education for Bruno. But that is not his destiny. As the years pass, the boys grow up, their friendship waxes and wanes. But when Pietro’s father dies, he returns to this friendship, these mountains, to recover what remains of the past.
Husband and wife team Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch (who previously collaborated on Broken Circle Breakdown) have lovingly crafted a tender rural epic about male relationships, lifetime friendship, fathers and sons, and how these things intersect with geography, because where we are – where we feel we are from – has immense implications on what we make of ourselves. Although it seems perverse to shoot the film in the nearly square Academy ratio, the majesty of the alps is a vivid constant here.
Beautifully filmed… this is the rare movie that understands how tied we are to the physical and psychological spaces of childhood, how our families and the traditions they raised us with can be both nurturing and limiting. More than anything, it brings a little-seen world to life with an almost palpable physicality, even as it reminds us that to live and work with one’s hands — to milk a cow, to build a house, to scale a mountain — is for some merely a romantic ideal and for others an implacable reality.
Justin Chang, LA Times
A movie with air in its lungs and love in its heart. This film has mystery and passion, it climbs mountainous heights and rewards you with the opposite of vertigo: a sort of exaltation.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
You breathe so well in these mountains. Van Groeningen’s long-time cinematographer Ruben Impens has never done more breathtaking work: he captures the epic vastness of every mountain with dumbfounding clarity… The Eight Mountains lovingly adapts Paolo Cognetti’s novel of the same name, a valentine to brotherhood and a shape-shifting tale of self-discovery, resilience, nature and love.
Ella Kemp, Indiewire
Time and again, the filmmakers succeed in capturing the majesty and melancholy of nature.
Ben Croll, The Wrap
Charlotte Vandermeersch, Felix van Groeningen
Alessandro Borghi, Luca Marinelli, Filippo Timi
In Italian with English subtitles
Jury Prize, Cannes
Paolo Cognetti, Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch
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