Yes there is a vague plot to this film despite it being a real-life sports film with no actors. Its divided into 12 chapters all chronicling various stages within the cycle of being a skier or simply an extreme sports adventurer, though many elements are quite relatable because it tackles issues on a human and even spiritual level. The plot line though is merely to have some kind of central mechanism around which to form the film, so that one doesn’t just have a bunch of random ski experts performing cool tricks and slaloms for over an hour. The true strength of this film however, lies in the truly spectacular cinematography and photography with an innovative cyclic theme running throughout, mastered with technical brilliance.
This film is way more than a ski film, in fact it’s just so happens to ‘also’ be a ski film, because it transcends such conventions by delivering something artful and exhilarating; and in doing so, Sherpas Cinema have provided a window into the skiing world that appeals to anyone. I recommend this film to anyone.
As a layman myself – having not skied once in my short life (which will soon be rectified) – I can say that what immediately appealed to me was the mountains and the climbing (featuring top climber Renan Ozturk – one of the few names I knew, along with photographer Jimmy Chin) and of course the crisp imagery, but soon I found myself lured by the notion of skiing. This of course is one of the goals, to draw more people to the sport, and it does so effortlessly.
Another seemingly effortless achievement is the way they portrayed the link between the simplest of things, like old rattle toy, and how its likened to time, the turning clock, the spinning earth, the tides of the oceans, and even man – our cycle of living, dying and rebirth, whether spiritual rebirth or that which exists in nature. It does all this without too much though, but simply by connecting a stream of breathtaking images and footage, all amidst the multi-generational journeys undertaken on the slopes of many a snow covered mountain.
There’s plenty of danger, and the tragic elements form a central focus, but it only serves to add another deeper dimension to this portrait, along with a stellar soundtrack.
It makes for a well timed exploration of a rather exclusive sport, as the world is currently focussed on the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi – so that if you didn’t have an appreciation for it before, then you will after watching this film. Everyone, whether on a ski slope or in everyday life, goes on their own journey, but our paths are forever interlinked and entwined, it’s part of what makes us human – the personal connection, and another, perhaps final added dynamic to Into the Mind, is camaraderie between all these people, bound by a vision and similar passions, willing to go to extreme and often dangerous lengths to satisfy them… It’s also why (another Winter Olympic phenomenon) why all the athletes tend to get along so well – its more often not so much about the competition, as it is about the ride, or ski, itself.
It’s about men and women, the spirit of freedom and adventure, and the endlessly varying echo of nature.
(My rating, for what its worth: 90% )
*Apologies, due to technical difficulties beyond my control or prevention, this post is delayed by a week, so the Sochi ref would've made more sense then, but I left it there anyway... Russia has won, and congrats to them, for that and also owning that Olympic logo faux par.*
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