FILM REVIEWS


El Capitan

The Grand Canyon Suite

The Wall of Early Morning Light

Everest the Hard Way

South

Chac

The Original Cliff Dwellers

Snow in the Kingdom

Cadillac Desert: An American Nile

Afghanistan

Nurpu

Mongolia

Maverick's

Ghenghis Blues

Butterfly

The Hand of Fatima

Into the Land of the Midnight Sun

The Sky's the Limit

Let the River Run: A Journey into Glen Canyon

New World Disorder

Tragedy and Triumph on Firecracker Hill

500 Nations


El Capitan
Chronicling an epic journey in the vertical plane, "El Capitan" runs the range of emotions. At once hilarious and terrifying, prosaic and lyrical, Fred Padula's classic film traces the struggles of three climbers making the third ascent of the infamous 'Nose' route on the highest rock face in North America, El Capitan. As an archive it is priceless. As a climbing film it is peerless. "El Capitan" has won accolades where ever it has screened, and richly deserves the highest praise it received from the leading figure of Yosemite's Golden Age, Yvon Chouinard, who called it "The best climbing film I've ever seen."
In person: original climbers, Richard McCracken and Lito Tejada Flores. Invited to attend: original climber Gary Colliver, director Fred Padula, and climber/camerman Glen Denny.
60 min, 1978


The Wall of the Early Morning Light
Once he'd recovered from the ascent of the Nose, Warren Harding turned his attention to the even sheerer and more intimidating East Wall of El Capitan. The 'Dawn Wall' as it became known, turned into an epic , a controversy, and a media circus. Harding and Dean Caldwell were on the climb for twenty two-days and, spurning attempts at rescue by Park Service Rangers and other climbers, finally summited amidst a barrage of cameras. A freshly edited version of the film featuring interviews and news footage reveals new insight into the old iconoclast.
In person: Warren Harding, Roger Derryberry.
30 min, 2001


The Original Cliff Dwellers
Taos water activist, Ron Gardiner, spent four years photographing the life of the Rio Grande Gorge. Music from local country star Michael Martin Murphy and commentary from wildlife biologist, Ben Kuykendahl complement this lyrical look at a unique ecosystem.
In Person: Ron Gardiner
30 mins. 1996


South
Sir Ernest Shackleton's Antarctic expedition of 1914-1916 aboard "Endurance" was documented in film and still photographs by Australian Frank Hurley. Restored, tinted, and toned by the National Film and Television Archive, and re-released 80 years later, Hurley's images of Antarctica and the heroic men (and dogs) of the expedition are stupefyingly beautiful and terrifying.
With a brilliant new piano score by Neil Brand.
88 min, 1919, restored and re-released 1998.


Chac
Chilean Rolando Klein's only film is a masterpiece. Shot in 1974 and saved as it was being destroyed, Chac is based on the rituals and legends from the "Popul Vuh", and from Tzeltal and Mayan stories. A tour-de-force of powerful beauty combining folkloric myth, drama, and ancient history, it was filmed in Chiapas, Mexico, and cast with native people. An examination of the nature of true Power, it is a tale that delves into the eternal forces and mythic world that underlies "reality."
95 min, 1974.

Everest the Hard Way
The first ascent of the South West Face of Everest was significant for two reasons. It marked the climax of Sir Chris Bonington's career as the leader of large expeditions and the last hurrah of the massive sherpa-supported climb. Meticulous planning by Bonington and some selfless heroics from the lions of British climbing resulted in an epic summit push by Doug Scott and Dougal Haston. Their effort was marked by the then highest bivouac in mountaineering history, but the climb was marred by the tragic disappearance of Mick Burke on the summit ridge.
90 min, 1976

Snow in the Kingdom
In 1988 Ed Webster and three fellow climbers hatched an audacious plan: to climb the remote Kangshung face of Everest without oxygen and without sherpa support. Their success on the route was described by Rheinhold Messner as "the best ascent of Everest in terms and style of pure adventure." Their subsequent horrific descent through storm, starvation, and bitter cold marks the climax of the riveting slide show.
In person: Ed Webster

Tragedy And Triumph on Firecracker Hill
In this hilarious spoof of the "expedition film" two buddies ascend an 'enormous' snow-covered peak in their town park.
9 min, 2000

Afghanistan
This series of films on Afghanistan ranges from the pastoral lifestyles of Afghan families in the 1950s, through the years of violent occupation by the Russians, and culminates with a brand new film, by Italian filmmaker Guiseppe Pettito. "Jung" chronicles the post-war chaos as the Afghanis still struggle vainly for peace. Internal strife between Muslim factions has resulted in the emergence of the fundamentalist Taliban who now hold sway over a ravaged countryside and destroyed cities.

Maverick's
The break at Maverick's is almost mythical in its power and presence. Spectacular footage shot from above and beneath, these northern California surfing gurus chronicle their attempts to master some of the most enormous waves in the world. This film tracks the discovery, exploration, and eventual popularity of this extreme playground, where some who brave the ocean's hugest swells pay the ultimate price.
53 min, 1998

Cadillac Desert: An American Nile
The award-winning PBS documentary of Marc Reisners' sweeping, seminal work on the use and abuse of the water of the American West. Producer John Else's editing of interviews, archival footage and contemporary film cuts cleverly to the quick of this contentious issue. The pivotal face-off between the forceful personalities of the great dam era, Sierra Club president, David Brower, and Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation, Floyd Dominy, drives this fascinating tale of the taming of America's best known river.
52 min, 1997

The Sky's the Limit
Who can breathe in anything less than a panavision view? John Nichols is at his irreverent, irrepressible, yarn-spinnin', blues-playin', essay-reading best in this KNME "Colores" production. Taos' poet-laureate rhapsodizes on the charms and challenges of modern Northern New Mexico. See what Taos and John Nichols used to sound and look like ten years ago.
In person: John Nichols
28 min, 1991


500 Nations
Taos resident, Jack Leustig, produced and directed this award-winning series documenting the life and death of the native American way of life.
In person: Jack Leustig
90 min


Let The River Run: A Journey into Glen Canyon
In 1869 John Wesley Powell first rafted the Colorado River through Glen Canyon, encountering pristine wildlife and the archaeological remains of the Ancient Ones. Nearly one hundred years later, David Brower, then executive director of the Sierra Club, documented this majestic region prior to its flooding. Filmmaker Lily Schad 'rediscovered' Brower's footage in 1995 and combined it with the field notes of John Wesley Powell and the first-hand observations and recollections of Katie Lee, an explorer of the area between 1954 and 1963. Schad's film sends a new message: inundating this majestical place was a crime against nature, and the restoration of a free-running Colorado River is a must.
20 min, 1997

Mongolia
After 70 years of Soviet domination, nearly two generations of young Mongolians are unaware of their own Buddhist history. For centuries Buddhism was the focal point of Mongolian culture. The presence of aggressive Christian missionaries and western materialistic influences today are threatening to destroy this precious heritage yet again.
10 min, 2001

Into The Land of The Midnight Sun
The massive cliffs of Baffin Island are no longer unknown to the climbing world. Why hundreds of El Cap size monoliths still await a first ascent is made painfully obvious in this riveting piece. Our adventurers must mush their huskies over a six day/150 mile trek merely to reach the base of their route. To ascend the 3200-foot face of The Fin they must weather subzero temperatures, violent storms, and the deprivations and discomforts of living on the wall weeks on end. Cinematographer Peter Mallamo's brilliant footage is a testament to the tremendous effort required to photograph in the vertical plane.
In person: Peter Mallamo
48 min, 2001


The Hand of Fatima
The Hand of Fatima is a 2000-foot-high rock formation jutting out of the desert sands of Mali, West Africa. This tower, pocked with ancient Tellam cliff-dweller sites, and current home to the Dogon tribe, is twice as high as any spire found in the American Southwest. Facing blistering heat, malaria, scarcity of food and water, and the intense Harmitan winds of the Sahara, this international team of climbers attempts a top level technical free climb in a land where each day is a fight for survival, for both native people and the climbers.
In person: Peter Mallamo
47 min, 1998


Nurpu
Nurpu, the Tibetan symbol for mountains and rivers, is a world tour of stunning kayak adventures. This brilliantly cut kaleidoscope of musical and visual stimulation features the antics of America's leading kayakers through some 'gnarly' rapids and terrifying waterfalls. Special appeal is made by the film-makers to preserve the gorgeous Putu River near Patagonia, Chile.
2001

Butterfly
Julia "Butterfly" Hill stood sentinel on a 1000 year-old Stafford Giant Redwood nicknamed "Luna" for two years. Butterfly documents Julia's message, the devastation of the forest, as well as recording the effect felt by the families and lives of those who survive from the logging industry. Julia's subsequent high profile, and her intelligent 'exploitation' of it, shows how one person can make a difference.
80 min, 2000

Ghenghis Blues
Blind Blues singer Paul Pena was spinning the dials on his ham radio when he heard a strange guttural singing. He discovered a gift for throat-singing and soon was on his way to the remote central Asian province of Tuva to sing and compete with the original practitioners of the art. This humorous and uplifting film has inspired all who've seen it.

The Grand Canyon Suite
Ferde Grofé's masterpiece played by the London Festival Orchestra evokes the majesty and grandeur of the Grand Canyon. Combined with images of the Canyon by Emmy Award-winning cinematographer Don Briggs, who has spent 25 years photographing and filming its wonders, this is a stunning and essential American musical and visual travelogue.
32 min, 1998

The Great Dance: a Hunter's Story
"When tracking is like dancing"Š this is the Great DanceŠ "because your body is happy." Follow the San tribe as they track a cheetah and run with Karwha as he chases down a kudu for four hours. Foreign policies have taken away the San tribe's hunting privileges and is pushing them toward the abandonment of their nomadic, Paleolithic ways. These people feel they have no future. "If you just sit, you are waiting to die." This poignant and riveting drama of hunter-gatherer life is a must-see.
75 min, 2000

New World Disorder
Thrills and spills, fifty-five foot cliff jumps, world cup downhill, skillful dirt jumping, seventy-mile-per-hour speed wheelies and terrifying unicycle stunts make for one of the most electrifying new school mountain biking videos. New World Disorder showcases mountain biking and its outrageous offspring performed by the top names in the sport today.
38 mins, 2000




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