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Item #: V2312
DARK GLOW OF THE MOUNTAINS: MESSNER ON GASHERBRUM NOW IN DVD!
By Messner, Reinhold, Hans Kammerlander, Werner Herzog
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Detailed Product Description
OUR EXCLUSIVE IMPORT! NOW IN ALL REGION DVD!
 
1985. A classic film showing Reinhold Messner and Hans Kammerlander on the first traverse of Gasherbrum I and II. An incredible film for the way Messner reveals his obsessive manner of climbing. Messner has called this his greatest Himalayan climb. Filmed by the great German director Werner Herzog. 45 minutes. All region DVD.
 
The film was originally recorded in the German language, but our version has a professional overdub by an English speaking narrator who translates everything, and he speaks faster than the characters so you can hear the real climbers speaking in German, and then the sound is turned up after the narrator is finished, so you can hear the inflections of Messner and Kammlerlander, so even if you do not speak German, you can understand their emotions and meaning. No subtitles, not needed.
 
 
 
From a review of the film in the New York Times by Vincent Canby in 1985:
 
WERNER HERZOG continues to go his own way, sometimes with triumphant results, often at great physical and emotional risk to himself and, in the case of ''Fitzcarraldo,'' to others.

Among the things that forever separate this most original West German film maker from his colleagues everywhere are not only his talent, his mysticism and his preoccupying identification with the obsessions of others, but also the intense enthusiasm he brings to both short and feature-length films.

Mr. Herzog is not the sort of director who waits around for his people to meet someone else's people before he embarks on a project. That, to him, would be like asking an agent for permission to breathe. Film making is his way of life, not a vocation. He never stops, and, for him, the short film is as important as the long.

His short film, ''The Dark Glow of the Mountains,'' made in Pakistan and 45 minutes long, is among the best work he's ever done.

Reinhold Messner, the young, bearded, introspective mountain climber who is the central figure in ''The Dark Glow of the Mountains,'' is a lot like Walter Steiner, who in ''The Great Ecstasy'' described what he does not as ski-jumping but as ski-flying. In ''The Dark Glow of the Mountains'' Mr. Herzog and a small film crew accompany Mr. Messner and his partner, Hans Kammerlander, to Pakistan, where the two climbers are going to attempt to scale two separate 8,000-meter peaks during one combined climb. Their goal is to pull this off without elaborate support teams, equipped only with back packs and without oxygen tanks.

The Herzog crew treks with the two climbers to their base camp, at an altitude of slightly more than 5,000 meters, and then waits for the pair's return.

The movie is full of exotic scenery, but it's most exotic when Mr. Messner is ruminating about what draws him to these mad endeavors. Sounding much like Mr. Herzog, he says: ''Climbing is a sign of the degeneration of our civilization,'' a concept not easy to grasp. He adds, ''Maybe I'm a little crazy, but all artists are.'' He explains that when he scales a sheer rock face, he feels that he is writing on it, not in any physical way that someone else might discover and read, but in his heart. He is most eloquent when he describes the climb - in the Alps - in which his brother was killed. The film maker, who can't be sure he understands himself, much less someone like Mr. Messner, listens carefully, as if one day, with luck, he will understand.

In this short, splendid film, Mr. Herzog is scaling the peaks of his own, very personal cinema.

A review from www.brooklynrail.org:
 
The Dark Glow of the Mountains (1984)

Reinhold Messner was the first man to solo Mt. Everest without oxygen, and the first to summit all fourteen Himalayan peaks higher than 8,000 metres. In 1970, descending the mythical and lethal Nanga Parbat, Messner lost his climbing partner/brother Gunther, plus seven toes and three fingers, to a winter storm. Herzog became fascinated when he heard that Messner planned to climb Nanga Parbat again.

As with La Soufriere — in which Herzog traveled to the erupting and evacuated volcanic island of Guadeloupe to interview the lone villager who insisted on staying put — he is fiercely curious about Messner’s relationship to death. Herzog’s interest in the ski-jumper Walter Steiner is predicated on pity for Steiner’s physical weakness in the face of a stubborn athletic desire to fly.
 
But his interest in Messner is clearly competitive. Messner’s epic physical ambition seems to intrigue and frustrate Herzog, especially considering Messner’s reluctance to reveal his motivations. Werner’s solution is to ask questions like, “Do you have a death wish?” and “How did you break the news of your brother’s death to your mother?,” the latter of which causes Messner to break down crying in his tent. By cracking the stoic Messner, Herzog attempts to make way for the apotheosis of ecstatic truth. The therapeutic value of this moment for Messner is, of course, suspect. Herzog excuses himself on the grounds that “he knew there would be no mercy for him, because film per se knows no mercy.”

Gradually we come to see that Herzog’s triumph over Messner’s stoicism mirrors Messner’s own triumph over Gasherbrum 1 and 2 (the two 8,000+ metre mountains in the film). Messner took the actual summit footage. Herzog suffered from altitude sickness at 6,500 metres and had to return to base camp, as broken physically as Messner had been emotionally. By the end, both men successfully summit the film itself, like climbing partners who, out of professional necessity, could not allow an emotional connection to form.


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