Monday, November 26, 2012

Movies: Long Journeys, Part 1

Recently, I've been watching documentaries about long journeys. Really long journeys.

Here is a selection in no particular order:

180 Degrees South

180 Degrees South.  Beautiful scenery. You could actually pop this movie onto your screen, set it for auto-replay, hit mute, and enjoy a constant loop of outdoor beauty without sound while you go about your business.  You mght want to watch it fully first, though, as it has several stories to relate to you. Good music, too.

In brief:  "The film emulates the 1968 trip made by Yvon Chouinard and Doug Tompkins to Patagonia, but rather than by land, Jeff Johnson travels by sea from Mexico and south along the west coast of Chile. The film opens with original home movie footage as taken by Chouinard and Tompkins, and then continues with Johnson's own footage, in which he includes surfing, sailing and climbing..."

A movie trailer:

Ride the Divide

Ride the Divide is about a 2711-mile bike race along the Continental Divide from Banff, Alberta, Canada, to the U.S.-Mexico border at Antelope Wells, New Mexico.

Riders encountered snow, heat, rain, dangerous inclines and declines, mechanical failures, bears, bison, deer, blisters, open sores, swollen legs and feet, dehydration, and terrible loneliness.  They were awed by transcendent natural beauty, and then, almost bored by it. Assuming appropriate fitness, skill, and properly-working gear, the race, because of its length and solitary nature, was a brain game. 

Here's a trailer:

Running the Sahara

Running the Sahara is about three men (and their rather large support crew) ... running the Sahara Desert. Each of the men has an interesting backstory.  I've got some strong likes and dislikes about this movie.

I liked the soundtrack - music composed by Heitor Pereira. Except. Nothing against Mr. Pereira, but the race went through Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Libya, and Egypt. Countries with rich, rich musical structure. Mali alone is world-renowned for its music. What an artistic opportunity wasted, to not use the music of the Saharan people.

It was painful to watch Charlie, one of the runners, do a manipulation number on Don's head (the crew chief). Bullshit like, "If you don't want to be here, then leave now." Stoopid. Is he doing the job today? Is he there today? Is he acting professionally? Then whether or not he wants to be there is irrelevant. Although this bit of unpleasantness was explained - quite understandably - as being a result of the severe emotional toll the running takes, I'm guessing this is Charlie's MO when it comes to getting his way on things. ... especially when the petulant behavior continued as the race went on. Could be that Charlie's just kind of a jerk even when he's not doing a 111-day run of 4400+ miles. His teammates, Kevin and Ray, showed a lot of grace when dealing with him.

Some of the scenery is stunning. As with the other journey documentaries, the movie illustrated how critical one's attitude is to sustain oneself through such an arduous expedition.

A trailer:

More to come ...  

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