Friday, October 7, 2011


2006, USA


A documentary about blind mountain climbers in Tibet. In 2001, Erik Weihenmayer became the first blind person to summit Mt. Everest. Inspired by his climb, students at a school for the blind in Tibet ask him to visit them. In 2004, Erik decided not only to visit, but to take an expedition of six student on a hike to Lhakpa-Ri, near Everest. This film documents their climb, from Erik's first visit. Also joining them on the hike is the school's founder Sabriye Tenberken, who is blind herself. The film covers not only the physical demands of the climb, but attitudes in Tibet towards blind people, who are considered cursed. We also find out a lot about Erik, Sabriye, and each of the kids. As the hike becomes increasingly difficult, tempers flare in the group--are they doing this hike for the kids, or for themselves? It's very gripping and exciting, and a sensitive exploration of blindness, far more nuanced than in any fiction film.

There was also a fiction film made in 2006 about Erik's climb up Everest, called Touch the Top of the World, with Peter Facinelli as Erik, but it's really cheezy, and not a good film. Facinelli is not convincing as a blind person.

Both Erik and Sabriye have written autobiographies too--look them up!

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