After breaking out internationally in 2012 with his Oscar-nominated drama Broken circle breakdownAnd her Hollywood debut in 2018 Handsome boyFelix van Groningen made his debut in the Cannes competition Eight mountainsProbably the most underestimated film of his career so far.
It’s a gentle story of a decade-long friendship that seems a bit out of its depth in such a heavyweight showcase. With great cinematography and two compelling leads, it’s easy on the eyes – plus it should be in two hours and 27 minutes – but weak to say the least and pale next to Paolo Sorrentino The hand of GodWhich covers similar themes of adolescence and youth in the final prize season.
A French-Italian-Belgian co-production, Eight Mountains (Le Auto Montagne) It could have been placed more sensitively in Venice, where it would have reasonably faced less scrutiny. Whatever the festive game, it comes with a ready-made spectator, adapted from Paolo Cognetti’s 2016 bestseller. Fans of the book will not be disappointed, as the film captures its charming, holiday-read gist. For starters, though, the script is written with Charlotte Vandermish, co-director of Van Groningen – disappointingly adventurous, padded with extra voice-over and montage.
The first 35 minutes will be an interesting brief in itself: 11-year-old Pietro is vacationing in the Italian countryside with his mother and father, taking a break from their claustrophobic life in the city. The only other boy in the area is Bruno, about the same age and living with his aunt and uncle while his father works. Their summers are beautiful together but their friendship is unfortunate. Bruno tries to fix it, whose only future is his family’s struggling cheese business, Pitro’s parents offer to take him home and enroll him in school. Fitted with violence, Bruno’s father takes the boy away and the two will not see each other for another decade or more.
This role, however, is only the basis of a strange bloodless friend film that awakens the consciousness of TV. Bele and Sebastian With its scenery and homilies. Pietro, now starring Luca Marinelli, returns to the city, where he goes out with his family and separates himself from his father, a satirical creature whose hidden extremes begin to unfold after his untimely death.
To mourn his father, Pietro returns to the family’s holiday home, where he reunites with Bruno (Alessandro Borghi) and discovers the secret bond that formed between his father and country boy in his absence. Both men now have bushy beards, and their beards will lift much heavier in the next two hours as the subtext of boys, men and their fathers will become the main talk.
The mountain setting is breathtaking, but the spectacular view of the vertical heights and treacherous glaciers promises a thrill that never materializes. There is the slightest sense of conflict between man and nature, and there is no feeling between Pietro and Bruno that seems like age, even after Bruno has left Pitro’s girlfriend. Not much is commented on when Pietro travels around and trades the artless country simplicity of the Italian Alps for the artless rural simplicity of the Himalayas, where he eventually finds inspiration, becomes some famous writer and learns about the “Eight Mountains”. “The word salad is a folk tale that, to put it bluntly, fits the traveler’s experience against the knowledge of the person who never leaves his home.
Bruno, meanwhile, is struggling, and for the first time, their now decades-long relationship has broken down. It’s a long time to wait for such a dramatic catalyst, and it arrives so late that many viewers can’t make it so far. For those who do the track, however, the subsequent unveiling is entirely a part of the bond, and it has a quiet honesty that is entirely consistent with the film’s low-key ambition.