it seems like there have been a million mountain-climbing documentaries and movies set in the Himalayas, with adrenaline-junkie mountaineers taking on the impossible. But you’ve likely never seen anything as harrowing, holy shit! frightening and ultimately moving as “Meru.” Shot by members of an alpinist crew scaling one of the most dangerous, never-climbed peaks in Northern India, “Meru” places you in the middle of the action, as if you’re on this disturbing, possibly ill-conceived journey.
The winner of the 2014 Sundance Audience Award for U.S. Documentary, “Meru” is astonishing and has already earned a spot on our Best Documentaries Of The Year so far list. Here’s the official synopsis:
In the high-stakes pursuit of big-wall climbing, the Shark’s Fin on Mount Meru may be the ultimate prize. Sitting 21,000 feet above the sacred Ganges River in Northern India, the mountain’s perversely stacked obstacles make it both a nightmare and an irresistible calling for some of the world’s toughest climbers. In October 2008, renowned alpinists Conrad Anker, Jimmy Chin and Renan Ozturk arrived in India to tackle Meru. Their planned seven-day trip quickly declined into a 20-day odyssey in sub-zero temperatures with depleting food rations. Despite making it to within 100 meters of the elusive summit, their journey, like everyone before them, was not a successful one. Heartbroken and defeated, the trio returned to their everyday lives, where the siren song of Meru continued to beckon. By September 2011, Anker had convinced his two lifelong friends to undertake the Shark’s Fin once more, under even more extraordinary circumstances than their first attempt. MERU is the story of that journey, an expedition through nature’s harshest elements and one’s complicated inner demons, and ultimately on to impossible new heights.
“Meru” opens August 14th. Anyone who loves an intense, white-knuckler of a movie should consider it a must-see movie. Watch the first trailer for the doc below.