Le Otto Montagne presents the tale of two young boys, one a city boy and the other un montanaro (mountaineer), whose childhood friendship patiently observers the unfolding of their different life paths. Much more than a coming of age story however, Le Otto Montagne centres the broader struggle of finding one’s purpose in life, even if only for a moment. Tradition, curiosity, determination, resentment, imagination, these are the contexts that influence the zig-zagging of each of their paths. Sometimes they cross over and sometimes they diverge, but what provides the resilient thread to their adult friendship is their shared love for the mountains.
The majority of the film is shot in and around a small village in the Italian alpine region of Valle D’Aosta. We whiteness the two boys explore the luscious landscape, playing in the streams and going on long hikes. Their exchanging of local regional dialects adds to romanticisation of this place which experiences pace of life and values that contrast that of the northern Italian cities. Regardless of whether one is specifically familiar with these nuances between regional Italian accents and cultures, the beauty of the film’s scenery distinctly punctuates it with a desire to spend time in the vastness of the mountain landscape.
Yet, as the film develops, this idyllic gesturing of nature, its symbol as a nurturing safe space, is complicated by the characters’ illusions, aspirations, and acts of agency. As its backdrop, the mountains therefore provides the space for the film to explore the undulation of life’s highs and lows. Over the curvatures of the Alpine horizon, from mountain peaks to urban life, and across streams of emotions, Le Otto Montagne is certain to leave viewers with a self-reflective sensibility towards where they see their own next turn (svolta, the much nicer Italian word) to take them.
Review by Michela Giachino
Since studying History of Art at The University of Oxford Michela has continued to pursue her interests in art and culture. She particularly enjoys considering how contemporary and historical art forms are presented to the wider public through exhibitions and viewings at art institutions. Michela’s favourite mediums include photography, film, painting and drawing, and she is always excited to learn about new art.
Read Michela’s latest review here Review: Souls Grown Deep like Rivers: Black Artists from the American South- “Giving space to art as experience.” – Royal Academy, until 18 June – Abundant Art
Director-Felix Van Groeningen, Charlotte Vandermeersch
With Luca Marinelli, Alessandro Borghi
Italy 2022. 147min, Digital, Certificate 12A, English subtitles
A Picturehouse Entertainment release
For tickets and more information Buy cinema tickets for The Eight Mountains | BFI Southbank