Among the dense collection of adventure films released over the past few years, Meru may stand atop the heap. The film offers an unparalleled look at the titular mountain located in India, legendary among the climbing elite, and what drives the passionate trekkers who embark on death-defying climbs, like it’s “unclimbable” 21,850 feet of mountainside. Without the ability to take a real film crew along on the difficult ascent, Jimmy Chin served as both subject and camera operator, sharing the intimate bond crafted with fellow climbers Conrad Ankler, a superstar in the sport, and Renan Ozturk during their multiple attempts to be the first expedition to summit Meru’s Peak. E. Chai Vasarhelyi, an accomplished documentarian, joined the production after the climbs, helping to craft the jaw-dropping raw footage into a captivatingly emotional video diary that portrays both the mental and physical exertion required for such a seemingly insurmountable feat.
Also in the climbing film category, special mention must be made to Jennifer Peedom’s Sherpa, a documentary that examines the controversy following the 2014 Everest tragedy that killed 16 Sherpas, taking the side of the often-overlooked community.
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