Directors: Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
With: Alex Honnold and Sanni McCandless
Free solo is a landscape of human determination, emotions, fear, death and love, without simple handouts, informative life instructions or metaphorical meanings that one might otherwise expect from the biography of Alex Honnold, a climber with a special passion for climbing mountains without ropes and Harnesses or any kind of protective equipment.
The film follows Alex as he prepares to become the first man to ever attempt to "solo" the 3,200-foot-high El Capitan granite cliff in the Yosemite Valley. Why he is doing this is not the question that creators Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi wanted to answer. They try to demystify Alex’s relationships with other people (his girlfriend, mother, fellow climbers) and in return for the nature and nature of adventure sports themselves. It's uncomfortable, disturbing, and emotional to see Alex go through this as Free Solo painstakingly wanders to the heart of a climber, a brave heart who lives with the constant contemplation of death.
The film introduces us to Sanni McCandless, Honnold's friend, who even Alex believes has somehow managed to connect with him. Sanni is not a professional climber, but she goes on adventures with Alex so she can guess what it's like to live like Alex, who is practically in a van with a blanket, brooms and canned goods. In it, Sanni also wants Alex to come into contact with his emotional self, one that he jokingly highlights is completely lacking. It is almost contradictory to have an Alex & # 39; free solo & # 39; seen as a mammoth summit while still struggling to & # 39; love & # 39; to say and instead for Sanni & # 39; the L-word & # 39; used for this. At some point, he appears to be really vulnerable and overshadowed by self-doubt when he generally indicates that he has a premonition because he was injured several times after Sanni entered his life while she still insists that he does communicative emotional problems and should speak more.
It is not easy for us to see Alex face his feelings before climbing El Capitan. His romantic relationship with Sanni is not what amazes or frightens Alex. However, the practicality in his life does. As one of his fellow climbers emphasizes, a man cannot be distracted while climbing. While another claims that Sanni is wearing his & # 39; armor & # 39; pierces what Alex is not doing well. He is exposed thread by thread before us before trying to ascend, and his fears become our fears. His failure will be his own, however, and we are objectively aware of it, thanks to the observational documentary approach.
Directors Chin and Vasarhelyi have considered the difficulty of such a film. The emotional strain on the makers and the pressure on the subject to be filmed can be felt throughout. "When a film team changes their minds," Alex said during a conversation. Not that Chin and his crew weren't aware of it. Instead, in the production of the film, they can capture someone's last moments, as shown in one of the scenes where a man slips while climbing! The camera people are the biggest distraction for Alex and the worst case scenario will be unconscious and ultimately yours.
It is somewhere in the fight against all the confused and suppressed feelings, stress, anxiety and fear where the film's nuanced message lies. Nothing is easy with Free Solo. It is a flow of emotions in which Alex not only tries to climb his life, which will be a historical and cultural achievement, he has to succeed or he dies.
The construction up to the last climb takes place in the form of an epic performance montage, in which we reaffirm our trust in Alex. He remembers every move he tries during scaling. His close friend dies a few days before moving up to El Capitan, but Alex is too sharp and focused to cancel his friend's death as a routine incident and to justify him in everyday work.
Sanni's perspective is not overlooked here as we assume that she knows what she is getting into with Alex, but the intensity of connecting and loving someone like him and the way he is Scaring and attracting people around is too scary to understand. But the film expresses it by making her an equal partner on Alex’s life journey, where the possibility of death is always a result, but love is more of a challenge.
There are no life lessons to learn or to greet a hero at home in case things go south. The documentary is not awesome, it's exhilarating. In the last sequence, tension is built into each image and editing improves the variety of effects. The insecure tight climbing holds are interrupted by a determined Alex who remains uninhibited, and then by some wide, landscaped views. In a masterly composed film that reinforces the "wow" and "oh no" effect, we see how Alex is insufficiently stuck between cracked lines. Will he be the ultimate winner if he scales her and his emotions?
Free solo won an Oscar in the Best Documentary category at the 91st Academy Awards. It is co-produced and distributed by National Geographic Documentary Films.
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