i hit up the boulder theater on wednesday to catch the last stop on mvm's premiere tour of perfecto: rock climbing over the sea.
the film was introduced by director mike call
kevin bradburn where he also broke the news that momentum video magazine or mvm will move away from its website's paid subscription model. come september 2008, two and half years of climbing video content will be free. this is good news if you're a broke consumer. bad news if you're a film maker trying to eat.
before the film began we were treated to two shorts. the first short featured james litz. the second highlighted alex honnold doing his thing in indian creek, utah. honnald tackled belly full of bad berries (5.13a)
patient lingering - the hardest off-width at the creek - and worked his way through two super entertaining rounds on from switzerland with love belly full of bad berries (5.13a). honnold's upside down climbing work was both immediate and intimate. at one point alex mutters, "i'm stuck." the audience was right there stuck with him. very good stuff.
on to perfecto.
perfecto focuses on the beautiful spanish island of mallorca and all its amazing orange and yellow limestone. the film doesn't focus on any one rock star - although ethan pringle gets somewhat close. there are no super crazy 5.14s featured here either. the film is mostly interested in deep water soloing and the beautiful cliffs of palma de mallorca.
visually, perfecto sticks to basic and classic cinematography. there are no heavy special effects and the editing is simple and restrained. you get to actually see climbs play out. the water and the cliffs are enough really. there's something complete and fantasic about watching and hearing climbers getting sucked in by the watery earth. the filmmaking, climbing and environment approach simple poetry at times.
so what to look out for? a stand out scene presents ethan pringle revisiting es pontas, which chris sharma made famous in the film king lines. "i guess you don't have to do the dyno," pringle concludes. another good scene shows jay holowach hilariously warming up by lifting some awkward cliff rocks. chuck fryberger's effort on weatherman (5.13c) was raw and accessible. the final winner was ethan pringle inverting himself on la hostia (5.13c).
perfecto wasn't perfect, however. the pace and subjects got a bit monotonous at times. it could have been shorter maybe. i also wish i had seen some exposure to mallorca as a place - there was basically no spanish and little if any interaction with the locals in the movie. my other and usual peeve was that there was very little story. i wanted more interaction between climbers off the cliff face. i wanted to see more about where they were sleeping, what they were talking (or fighting?) about, and what they were eating. i still don't get why climbing filmmakers are seemingly afraid to bring audiences closer to the humanity of their subjects and this sport.
overall, perfecto is a pretty great summer climbing movie. as temperatures peak this july, this film will make you wish you were out there squeezing the ocean out of your chalk bag and shoes.
Labels: alex honnold, chris sharma, chuck fryberger, deep water soloing, ethan pringle, film, indian creek, james litz, jay hollowach, mallorca, mike call, momentum video, movie, mvm, perfecto, spain