The lure of ‘Mountain’ and the ACO

I recently attended the cinematic and musical odyssey with the Australian Chamber Orchestra “Mountain”. This is described as an essay on our fascination with mountains, how they challenge us, and how we respond. The combination of wonderful music and epic photography is powerful. An experience that remains with you, returning at unexpected moments, with notes playing out in your mind, grand images floating back, and recollection of snippets of the profound commentary.

The writer, director and producer is Jennifer Peedom who created the movie “Sherpa”. The beginning is mindful of this as it tells us that for most of history mountains have been the domain of the devotional and demons. Those who frequented mountains did so to seek out spiritual inspiration, or to confront their fears. More recently, mountains are generally visited to take us outside our physical comfort zones and challenge us to reach greater heights. This can be seen most clearly with the fascination with ascending Mt Everest, despite the dangers to ourselves and those relied on to get us there.

‘Mountain’ begins with the most confronting images of a solo mountaineer clinging to the side of a sheer cliff without the aid of ropes or other tools. He reaches out with hand and foot to find the smallest crevice to continue his journey upwards. The camera then pans around so that he is seen from above with the vast drop below him to certain death if he is to make any mistake. Surely there could be no more extreme example! But more is to come with bike riders racing their mountain bikes along the ridge of a high and craggy mountain crest. There are others hanging by ropes and pulleys from the underneath of strange and wonderful ice and rock formations, then skiers and canyoners, and other thrill seekers who throw themselves off the top of cliffs on bikes, with batman like wings, or parachutes.

The commentary indicates that by going so close to death, it makes us feel more alive. That by doing so, the thrill of being so close to catastrophe, so reckless with life, causes the senses to be magnified, with the result of feeling more alive. An effect compared to a drug- needing more and more to get the same affect. This has reached dizzying heights with the numbers of visitors to Everest paying huge sums for the experience, and the pathways turning from a sacred struggle with nature into queues requiring crowd control! One of the most poignant messages of the movie “Sherpa” was the need for considerable support to enable these experiences to take place, and the terrible risks taken by the sherpas and others to support these escapades. They earn their living in this way and for them too it is a life and death experience, but of a very different kind. It is not to make them feel more alive that they do this, but to be able to live at all and support their families.

The narrator comments that the pull of the mountains is also to gain perspective. It is impossible in the face of such majesty and of such proportions that we can remain convinced of our importance in the scheme of things. Even looking at these magnificent images, the insignificance of our position in the world is confronting and real. We are able to move away from the sense of ourselves being a big fish in a small pond and realize our own insignificance.
For me the overwhelming sense of wonder of the world around us and in particular the splendor of nature is the most important. The sense of wonder at the world, makes it easier to focus on what we have to offer rather than what we can gain from the situation around us. This feeling is greatly enhanced by the music, with pieces by Sculthorpe, Chopin, Grieg, Vivaldi, Part, Nizeti and Tognetti himself. But the pairing of such magnificence of image with that of Beethoven’s Violin Concerto in D and his ‘Emperor’ Piano Concerto is perfect. The music and movie soar around the valleys, up to the summit, along the spurs and out to the horizon! The impact is pure magic and epitomizes just how inspirational mountains, nature and human achievement can be!

It is impossible to remain obsessed with what is happening in our immediate environment in the face of such wonder. Our problems suddenly shrink to a size that puts them in perspective and makes them seem manageable. This is an outcome that a skilled and experienced professional can facilitate for their clients. At Creative Family Law Solutions our goal is to travel this journey with our clients. We aim to assist them to achieve this greater perspective and acquire skills to approach their problems in a practical and future focused way to suit their individual circumstances. Contact us if you would like to discuss what this might look like for you or your clients.

More resources