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The Eight Mountains

An epic journey of friendship and self-discovery set in the breathtaking Italian Alps, The Eight Mountains follows over four decades the profound, complex relationship between Pietro and Bruno.
(NR, 147 min.)


Monday, June 26, 2023

7:15 PM

An epic journey of friendship and self-discovery, The Eight Mountains is a landmark cinematic experience as intimate as it is monumental, as deep as it is expansive. Adapting the award-winning novel by Paolo Cognetti, directors Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch (The Broken Circle Breakdown) portray through observant detail and stunning landscape photography the profound, complex relationship between Pietro (Luca Marinelli) and Bruno (Alessandro Borghi), who first meet as children when Pietro’s Milan family vacations in an isolated village at the base of the Alpine slopes. As they mature, Pietro becomes estranged from his business-minded father (Filippo Timi) even as Bruno—emotionally abandoned by his own father—takes up the role of surrogate son. Pietro’s father’s death reunites the two in realizing his dream of constructing a cabin on the Alps, and the project and subsequent explorations of the awe-inspiring mountain range bond Pietro and Bruno in a shared purpose. Yet despite their connection, the purity of nature and the demands of society both threaten to drive the men to pursue different, possibly irrevocably divergent paths on the vertiginous terrain of life. [Janus]

Starring: Luca Marinelli, Alessandro Borghi, Lupo Barbiero
Directors: Felix van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch
Languages: English, Italian, Nepali
Genre: Drama

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"As beautiful in its visuals as it is poetic in its homage to friendship."

— Rafaela Sales Ross, Little White Lies

"God, I love this movie so much... A very deep and meaningful story of platonic friendship."

— Christy Lemire, FilmWeek (KPCC - NPR Los Angeles)

"Enduring male friendships and the legacy of childhood are examined in this swoon-worthy literary adaptation..."

— Kevin Maher, Times (UK)

"The performances are subdued and sublime, highlighting each character’s efforts to reject or embrace his fate, or both."

— Roger Moore, Movie Nation

"Wildly beautiful and tender, so infused with unspoken emotion that it’s a tearful watch even in its most idyllic moments."

— David Sexton, New Statesman

"A stunning, often profound and frequently jaw-droppingly gorgeous tale of two friends from childhood through adulthood set against the Italian Alps."

— Jake Coyle, Associated Press

"The framing of every shot is exquisite and the sense of place and time, the steepness and prospect of the mountains, the snow and freshness of spring are palpable."

— John Bleasdale, Sight & Sound

"Van Groeningen’s long-time cinematographer Ruben Impens has never done more breathtaking work: he captures the epic vastness of every mountain with dumbfounding clarity."

— Ella Kemp, indieWire

"Sweeping and novelistic in scope, the film, adapted from an Italian bestseller by Paolo Cognetti, combines the earthy, rooted grit of Jack London with the vivid emotional landscapes of Elena Ferrante."

— Wendy Ide, The Observer (UK)

"The love story that is The Eight Mountains expresses this ineffable relationship between those who know us best and the places in which we find ourselves with a rough-hewed grace and profound knowingness."

— Katie Walsh, Chicago Tribune

"This combined restraint builds to a devastating torrent of feeling, like tears held back and back and back and then no more; an ode to loves taken for granted in life, it makes a case for renewing and reviving our oldest alliances."

— Guy Lodge, Film of the Week

"Happily, Luca Marinelli and Alessandro Borghi put in mountain-sized performances to offset the film’s silences and propensity for postcard shots, bringing heart and guts to the chilliest scenery. A worthwhile hike through many obstacles to friendship."

— Tara Brady, The Irish Times

"Just as the film’s near-sole setting — a remote mountain cabin beneath the peaks of northwestern Italy — beckons Pietro (Luca Marinelli) and Bruno (Alessandro Borghi) throughout their lives, the intoxicating atmosphere of The Eight Mountains is a cherished retreat I’m already eager to revisit."

— Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

"Happily, the movie doesn’t exist only on paper. It lives in Marinelli’s and Borghi’s beautifully harmonized performances, in their expressive physicality and intense if sometimes hesitant emotions; in the soft-polished grit and enveloping romanticism of Daniel Norgren’s songs; and especially in the heart-stopping grandeur of Ruben Impens’ square-framed compositions."

— Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

"In this years-long dance between the two, The Eight Mountains plays as a gentle epic, equally accomplished in its minimalistic approach to intimacy as in its grandiose portrayal of landscapes, an immersive visual experience that needs not sacrifice the arcs of its characters to succeed in building arresting contemplation."

— Rafaela Sales Ross, Little White Lies