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Dawn Wall and Free Solo films (Read 16358 times)

jwi

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#150 Re: Dawn Wall and Free Solo films
March 05, 2019, 05:19:45 pm
Free Solo 7/10, some unsorted random thoughts.

Free Solo must be the first climbing movie I've seen since Jean-Paul Janssen's extraordinary films about Edlinger that has used Foley artists to recreate the sounds of climbing. As it is well known that an iPhone-movie with high-quality sound looks better than anything captured with a real film camera but with cheap mikes, or – worse – sound from location, Free Solo looks incomparable better than almost all previous climbing films. Well planned shots from exposed pitches in Yosemite helps of course, but that's nothing we have not seen before.

The cinematography alone is neither enough to hold my, nor (I suspect) the general audience attention for the duration of the film. Instead the film was held together by the strength of character of the protagonist (Alex) and his sidekick (Tommy – who seems to be the only fully sane person depicted) in this fairly simple rendition of Overcoming the Monster. In the end the Monster is indeed defeated, to sweeping music. We are led to believe that this is a good thing – even if the protagonist himself seems to be more worried about failing in front of the camera than falling to his actual death.

The movie is clearly not a documentary about Free Soloing the normal route on El Capitan — but rather about how the protagonist sets out to defeat the mighty Capitan. Before seeing the film, I thought I wanted to see the former film, but judging by how successful the story-telling was and how unsuccessful American film-makers usually are at putting sporting achievement into context I am happy that it was the latter.

All of the climbing footage — of which they must have had tons, considering that they showed just a few seconds of a solo of Rivieres Poupre! — is made to serve the story. Almost all of it works seamlessly, and even if I'm sure that most climbers found it uncomfortably cheesy when Tommy Caldwell pretended to slip off the boulder problem pitch I suspect it was very effective on the general audience to hammer home the point that the crux is difficult and insecure.

How you feel about the film has probably a lot to do with how you feel about free soloing. I am totally fine with free soloing, and it was indeed Janssen's La Vie au bout des doigts that made me want to be a rock climber (at that time there was not a great deal of climbing in Sweden, and none where I lived), and I personally think freesoloing is one of the healthiest things people who need extreme amount of sensory input can do. Some people are not fine with free soloing, and they will not like this movie as it will clearly make more people want to free solo.

As it was for Beowulf, I am sure Alex will face even stronger monsters in the future.

Muenchener

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#151 Re: Dawn Wall and Free Solo films
March 12, 2019, 09:31:11 am
Thanks for the heads-up. Watched the first hour of it last night: way better than I expected. More interesting & informative TC biopic, less trouser-filling falling off on copperheads.

cheque

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#152 Re: Dawn Wall and Free Solo films
March 12, 2019, 10:08:30 am
I finally saw the Dawn Wall last night. I was surprised by how much it felt like a standard Reel Rock film in comparison to Free Solo. In some ways it felt a bit caught between being a film for normal viewers and a film for climbers- the complexity of the siege story, free/ aid differences etc. made it hard to simplify for the former (makes you realise how much of a once-in-a-lifetime chance the Free Solo creators had and how well they took it) and the need to simplify it all made it suffer a bit for the latter.

If it was done in the usual slapstick Reel Rock style they could have had a field day with the media circus element for example but they obviously held back ‘cos they didn’t want to alienate the Netflix audience.

I enjoyed it though. John Long was born to narrate this kind of thing.  :lol:

Free Solo must be the first climbing movie I've seen since Jean-Paul Janssen's extraordinary films about Edlinger that has used Foley artists to recreate the sounds of climbing.

I realise that I’m setting you up for a characteristically pompous confirmation of your highbrow standards here but you can’t have watched many recent major US climbing films.  ;)

As it is well known that an iPhone-movie with high-quality sound looks better than anything captured with a real film camera but with cheap mikes, or – worse – sound from location

I’m confused by this. What’s your definition of “sound from location”?

slab_happy

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#153 Re: Dawn Wall and Free Solo films
March 12, 2019, 10:39:28 am
John Long was born to narrate this kind of thing.  :lol:

Yeah, one non-climber friend who watched (and loved) the film was hugely entertained by him.

I had the great joy of springing this photo on her:

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2018/02/18/obituaries/18bridwell-obit2/17bridwell-elcapitan-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale

kelvin

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#154 Re: Dawn Wall and Free Solo films
March 12, 2019, 11:09:37 am
John Long was born to narrate this kind of thing.  :lol:



Yeah, one non-climber friend who watched (and loved) the film was hugely entertained by him.

I had the great joy of springing this photo on her:

https://static01.nyt.com/images/2018/02/18/obituaries/18bridwell-obit2/17bridwell-elcapitan-articleLarge.jpg?quality=75&auto=webp&disable=upscale

My newly climbing girlfriend loved both movies. Caldwell and Long leaving an impression on her. So we sat and watched Valley Uprising the other day - might be worth getting your friend to watch it 🙂

SA Chris

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#155 Re: Dawn Wall and Free Solo films
March 12, 2019, 12:02:00 pm

I enjoyed it though. John Long was born to narrate this kind of thing.  :lol:


Chris Schulte should be next in line

http://www.niallgrimes.com/jam-crack-climbing-podcast/jcpc-006-the-view-from-dead-horse-point

jwi

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#156 Re: Dawn Wall and Free Solo films
March 13, 2019, 11:21:40 am

I realise that I’m setting you up for a characteristically pompous confirmation of your highbrow standards here but you can’t have watched many recent major US climbing films.  ;)

Guilty as charged :/ There is only so much hyperbole I can take.

ghisino

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#157 Re: Dawn Wall and Free Solo films
March 27, 2019, 12:18:24 pm
It is funny how much of a difference the big screen makes. I watched DW on a big screen and FS at home on my laptop with a dodgy stream.

I was blown away by DW, while FS lived maybe 60% up the expectations I had!

The most interesting thing is that comparing the two characters, TC felt as he could be a close friend, and AH like some sort of extraterrestrial creature - difficult to truly relate to. I wonder how much of this impression is due to:
-real life differences between the 2
-my own experiences being closer to one story than the other
-the filmmakers' choices
-the big screen making you feel more involved
?

slab_happy

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#158 Re: Dawn Wall and Free Solo films
May 15, 2019, 09:49:24 am
In the unlikely event that anyone hasn't seen Free Solo, it's on Channel 4 next week:

https://www.channel4.com/programmes/free-solo