Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, The Eight Mountains is a highlight of the 2023 St. Ali Italian Film Festival, which runs from September 28 to October 19.
Set in the dramatic mountains of the Italian Alps, this thoughtful film centres on the enduring friendship of Pietro and Bruno, and their relationship with their fathers.
The two boys, played by Lupo Barbiero and Cristiano Sassella, are 11 when they meet in the summer of 1984, when Pietro’s family has rented a holiday home in the remote mountain village where Bruno is the only remaining child.
The film’s narrator is the adult Pietro (Luca Marinelli), who says in the opening scene: “I didn’t expect to find a friend like Bruno in my life, nor that friendship was a place where you put down roots that remain waiting for you.”
“I grew up as an only child in an apartment in the city, and I wasn’t used to doing things together.”
The two boys are like brothers as they range together through the picturesque mountain country.
But their lives diverge after Pietro returns to Turin with his parents, Giovanni (Filippo Timi) and Francesca (Elena Lietti), and it is 20 years before they get together again.
Pietro’s father has died at the age of 62 and has left his son a house in Bruno’s village.
Pietro is shocked when he sees his inheritance, little more than a pile of rubble. But Bruno (Alessandro Borghi) is adamant that he will rebuild the house. He promised Giovanni that he would, he tells Pietro.
Reluctantly Pietro agrees to work with Bruno to rebuild the house, and as they labour together they rekindle their relationship.
Pietro, who has been estranged from his father for many years, is astonished to learn that Bruno and Giovanni had developed a close friendship.
Pietro had dismissed his father as a boring businessman but now regrets that he missed out on knowing him at his happiest and most fulfilled as he scaled the mountain trails.
The Eight Mountains is directed by Belgian husband-and-wife team Felix van Groeningen and Charlotte Vandermeersch, adapted from an Italian best-seller by Paolo Cognetti.
Nearly 2½ hours long, the film moves at a leisurely pace, with gorgeous cinematography by Ruben Impens.
The Italian Film Festival venues are Luna Leederville, Luna On SX, Windsor Cinema and Palace Raine Square. Details: italianfilmfestival.com.au
Watch the trailer…