K2. TOUCHING THE SKY (K2. Dotknac Nieba)

Eliza Kubarska, PL/DE/UK 2015, 72'
K2. Touching the Sky
International Premiere
Fri 7.8.2015, 11.00, Cinema Teatro Kursaal
Sat 8.8.2015, 14:00, Palavideo

en / it / de / fr

What is the appeal of mountains? Only after the Italian poet Petrarca had climbed Mont Ventoux in Provence in 1336 did the idea spread that one could for no reason climb a mountain, just in order to feel closer to nature. Even though hiking has now become a leisure sport, there are alpinists whose mo- tives are difficult to understand. Those who remain for days on end in the death zone above 7,000 meters altitude hoping for the weather to allow an ascent to the summit. Who continue to climb despite frozen limbs. Who write letters to their families while waiting in the base camp. The film «K2. Touching the Sky» is about these relentless, impassioned mountaineers. And about their children.

In the beginning of the film, the director Eliza Kubarska sits in her tent and talks straight into the camera. She explains her fascination for the mountains: «Here, only the present counts.» But she also wants to become a mother, without having to sacrifice her passion. She wants to bring a child into this world who will depend on her, and at the same time wants to keep knowingly put herself in danger. What happens to a child who has to live in fear for their parent or even has to mourn them? The filmmaker examines this question by hiking to the Baltoro Glacier in the Karakorum, at the foot of K2 – together with four children of alpinists who died in fatal mountaineering accidents. Here, Lindsay, Chris, Łukasz and Hania lost their mother or father in the so-called black summer of 1986. Now they are standing at the foot of this very mountain, seeing a mummified arm...

The children, who have long grown up, speak differently of their parents. Hania was not even born when her father Tadeusz fell to death. The fact that she never even got to know her father makes her angry. «What on earth was he thinking?» she says. Łukasz was four years old when his mother died on K2. A couple of years later, he also lost his father in the mountains. And yet – or perhaps because of this – he is a climber, too. Lindsay and Chris were already grown up when they heard about their mother Julie Tullis’ death in August 1986. Her climbing partner, the famous Austrian alpinist Kurt Diemberger, survived. We see him in a current interview as well as in old TV programmes. In addition, there is archival footage shot by the alpinists, whose beauty manages to convey the attraction of this majestic, yet murderous peak. By partly using an 8mm camera and thus creating an aesthetic resemblance between contemporary images and the footage from 1986, Eliza Kubarska’s film transports everyone into the present – as if the children were reunited with their parents.

Flavia Giorgetta