Riccarda de Eccher: Montagna
Riccarda de Eccher is twice blessed: She found her passion as a climber when she was young; and, she discovered her passion as a painter when her climbing years were past. In the careful simplicity of her long braid, in the clarity of her gaze and in her poised presence on camera, we can feel the harmony that has come to Riccarda from realizing her two conjoined passions.
Nearly a century after Mallory offered “because it’s there,” as the reason people feel compelled to climb, ski and otherwise throw themselves up and down mountains, the draw remains ineffable. Australian director Jennifer Peedom attacks the big, unanswerable question with gorgeous music, imagery and rumination. She seems determined to throw all the tricks of cinema at the mystery, just as an impossible first summit might be achieved if only an adventurer could command sufficient skill and gear. Of course, the mountain can never be possessed, the mystery never parsed, and we are left awestruck, which is as good as it gets. “What odd devotions we undertake … with the mountains as our theater,” narrator Willem Dafoe intones. No doubt.