Au Vieux Campeur held the summer mountain film screening event at the Batiment des Forces Motrices in Geneva. They introduced the event as being the opportunity for them to share the passion of the mountains with people who may not be aware of the activities that are possible. They then went on to say “but as we’re having the screening in Geneva we know that you’re just half an hour from the mountains so many of you are practitioners and today we may even have participants from the cancelled Patrouille Des Glaciers.
Four films were shown at Montagne En Scène. The films shown were A Line Across the Sky, a documentary following two less experienced climbers as they attempt the Fitzroy traverse during a rare good weather window, Chasing Niagra, a documentary about Rafa Ortiz and his preparations to shoot the Niagra Falls in a Kayak. The third film is Mont Rebei Project, a documentary looking to achieve a new Rope Jump record.
The Last film, and my favourite is Valley Uprising. It takes a look at the American climbing scene from the fifties up to the Modern day. This documentary is great because it provides us with a deep understanding of the American climbing psyche. Mountain climbing is a sport of passion and so to see how different groups helped this passion progress over the years is interesting.
Last night I went to watch an observational documentary called Kosovo, the Valley, about the conflict in Kosovo in 1998. The event took place at the Frontline club in London. The documentary starts with a graphic scene of the aftermath of an attack and takes a look at both the Albanian side of the conflict and the Serb. It’s a good documentary that helps to understand how the conflict was. Keep in mind that the documentary was shot back in 1998 and finished in 1999.
During the Questions and answers session we learned that the documentary was produced over a period of months, from months of research to weeks of actual production with film camera work and an amusing anecdote about the current Prime Minister of Kosovo having confiscated a few reels of films and more.
Thanks to the budget the producer had been given he had the ability and the luxury to learn and understand the story like someone who would file reports could not. As a result there are a few personal stories and it was not meant as a current affairs program.
Accessing the UCK (KLA) was apparently challenging because they had no media policy, rather there was some necessity in going via Switzerland although how Switzerland helped is unclear. Is it through the United Nations or other. I’m not sure.
Another aspect of this documentary is that through it’s very nature the film makers had the challenge of covering both sides of the story. The producer was faced with having to make sure not to disclose information from either side. That’s an interesting situation to be in but through negotiation they were able not to disclose any information about the others.
Following one person’s question we found out that due to the nature of these village communities they lived fairly isolated lives as a result of which they may never have met someone from the other side. As a result prejudice had been easy for some to bring in.
A side of effect of this was the lack of a media policy or organisation. One person in the crowd who had gone into the area in 1999 asked whether some questions about military organisation. Apparently they were not that well organised. The KLA had some people in charge of the main part although overall control was according to tribes and the head of the family, more traditional. What this meant is that they did not provide a unified front when attacks occured. Radios were not working. We could see aspects of this in the documentary.
I’m glad I went to see this documentary because after having a good friendship with one Albanian girl I saw a lot of their culture as it was in Switzerland. I became interested in the background as to why she moved to Switzerlan. I understood certain of the words and I know about the music. I’m happy I read “Les Tambours de la Pluie” since it meant I had better background information. I’d recommend watching the documentary although some scenes are quite graphic and may not be suitable for all. It’s powerful and I’m glad I went to it.
— Update —
There is a none english version that can be found here