MERU: Highly Anticipated Climbing Film Premieres August 14thThe film Meru – which chronicles the first successful ascent of the Shark’s Fin on Meru Central by climbers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk – will premiere in theaters in the United States beginning August 14th. [with complete list of showings]
The film Meru – which chronicles the first successful ascent of the Shark’s Fin on Meru Central by climbers Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin, and Renan Ozturk – will premiere in theaters in the United States beginning August 14th.
“This is the anti-Everest,” says Into Thin Air author Jon Krakauer in the film’s trailer, “It’s the test of the master-climber.”
Anker, Chin, and Ozturk’s efforts to meet that test – a high altitude alpine climb capped by a 1,500 foot big wall of blank, overhanging granite – propel the plot of Meru codirected by Chin and his wife, documentary filmmaker Chai Vasarhelyi.
“The reason Meru is different is that on Everest you can climb it with a lot of support. You have Sherpa support,” says Vasarhelyi, in remarks to Park City Television. While on Meru, “it was just the three guys on the mountain.”
The Shark’s Fin on Meru Central (20,700 feet) slices skyward at the headwaters of the Ganges River in Northern India.
To succeed on Meru, “You can’t just be a good ice climber. You can’t just be good at altitude. You can’t just be a good rock climber,” says Krakauer. “It’s defeated so many good climbers and maybe will defeat everybody for all time.”
Many thought ascent to be impossible. In fact, the Shark’s Fin has been the site of a higher number of failed ascents than any other Himalayan peak in the last three decades.
The name of the peak itself is imbued with cosmological overtones.
Meru names the sacred mountain in Buddhist, Hindu, and Jain cosmology that marks the epicenter of both the physical and metaphysical universes.
Its Himalayan namesake seems to have occupied a similar interior topography for Anker, Chin, and Ozturk.
The singular challenge posed by a first ascent of the Shark’s Fin became a haunting quest for each of them. For Anker in particular, the climb was a means of fulfilling the vision of his own mentor Mugs Stump.
The team first attempted the climb in October 2008, yet what was intended to be, as the filmmakers describe, “a seven-day trip with the equivalent amount of food became a 20-day odyssey in sub-zero temperatures, thanks to the setback of a massive storm that showered the mountain with at least 10 feet of snow.”
Unfortunately, this required the team to abandon their push just one hundred heartbreaking meters away from the summit.
Anker successfully convinced Chin and Ozturk to return in September 2011.
Meru tells the story of what happens next. And it is already attracting the attention of an audience far beyond just the climbing community.
The film won the Audience Award at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival for U.S. Documentaries – which could be a harbinger of even more acclaim to come – as other recipients of this honor have later received Academy Award nominations.
“I have always felt a certain level of ambivalence towards climbing in the big mountains,” says codirector Jimmy Chin in a recent blog post.
“In making Meru, our hope was not just to give people a visceral experience of modern, cutting edge ‘mountain climbing,’ but more importantly, an honest look at the life, the loss, the elation and ultimately, the intractable decisions faced by people who’ve made a life of climbing high altitude alpine peaks…The process may have only deepened my ambivalence. Love or hate? Freedom or incarceration? I don’t have the answer but I am proud and grateful to share a film…that will hopefully open your eyes to another world and let you decide for yourself which side of the ridge to stand on.”
For further information and showtimes see below, or visit www.MeruFilm.com.
MERU – Official Trailer
City | Opening Date | Theater
New York, NY – Aug 14, 2015 – Lincoln Plaza
New York, NY – Aug 14, 2015 – Angelika Film Center New York
Los Angeles, CA – Aug 14, 2015 – Nuart Theatre
Minneapolis, MN – Aug 14, 2015 – Landmark Lagoon Cinema
Seattle, WA – Aug 14, 2015 – Landmark Guild 45th
Denver, CO – Aug 14, 2015 – Landmark Theatres
Boulder, CO – Aug 14, 2015 – Cinemark
San Francisco, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Sundance Kabuki Cinemas
Berkeley, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Landmark Shattuck Cinema
San Rafael, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Smith Rafael Film Center
San Jose, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Camera Cinemas – Camera 7
Pasadena, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Laemmle Playhouse
Encino, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Laemmle Town Center
Camarillo, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Regency Paseo Camarillo
Santa Cruz, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Nickelodeon, Santa Cruz
Laguna Niguel, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Regency Rancho Niguel
San Diego, CA – Aug 21, 2015 – Landmark Ken Cinema
Washington, D.C. – Aug 21, 2015 – Landmark E Street Cinemas
Tacoma, WA – Aug 21, 2015 – Grand Cinema
Atlanta, GA – Aug 21, 2015 – Landmark Midtown Art
Baltimore, MD – Aug 21, 2015 – The Charles
Philadelphia, PA – Aug 21, 2015 – Landmark Ritz Five
Palm Springs, CA – Aug 28, 2015 – Camelot Theatres
Palm Desert, CA – Aug 28, 2015 – Cinemas Palme d’Or
Boston, MA – Aug 28, 2015 – Landmark Kendall Square
Dallas, TX – Aug 28, 2015 – Angelika Film Center Dallas
Plano, TX – Aug 28, 2015 – Angelika Film Center Plano
Ft. Worth, TX – Aug 28, 2015 – The Modern
Houston, TX – Aug 28, 2015 – Sundance Cinemas Houston
Austin, TX – Aug 28, 2015 – Regal Arbor 8
Salt Lake City, UT – Aug 28, 2015 – Broadway Centre Cinemas
Bellingham, WA – Aug 28, 2015 – Pickford Film Center
Boise, ID – Aug 28, 2015 – The Flicks
Portland, OR – Sep 4, 2015 – Cinema 21
Eugene, OR – Sep 4, 2015 – Bijou Theatre
Bend, OR – Sep 4, 2015 – Tin Pan Theater
Lancaster, CA – Sep 4, 2015 – BLVD Cinemas
Madison, WI – Sep 4, 2015 – Sundance Cinemas Madison
Winston Salem, NC – Sep 4, 2015 – Aperture Cinema
Chicago, IL – Sep 4, 2015 – Music Box Theatre
Honolulu, HI – Sep 4, 2015 – Kahala Theatre
Cleveland, OH – Sep 4, 2015 – Cedar Lee Theatre
Cincinnati, OH – Sep 4, 2015 – Danbarry Turfway
Winston-Salem, NC – Sep 4, 2015 – a/perture cinema
Ft. Collins, CO – Sep 4, 2015 – Lyric Cinema Cafe
Corvallis, OR – Sep 11, 2015 – Darkside Cinema
Winchester, VA – Sep 25, 2015 – Alamo Drafthouse Cinema
About the Author
Patrick McCormick is a visiting scholar at the University of Notre Dame. His writing on human rights and multilateral affairs has been published by a range of outlets including CNN, Ethics and International Affairs, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, The Georgetown Journal of International Affairs, and the Council on Foreign Relations.
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