Monday 24 May 2021

Magic Mountains (Urszula Antoniak, 2020)

Lex (Thomas Ryckewaert), a Dutch writer of popular novels, has money and fame but no peace of mind since Hannah (Hannah Hoekstra) left him years ago. Lex wants to close the relationship in a symbolic gesture and asks her to go with him to the mountains for a last climb together. Voytek (Marcin Dorocinski), a professional mountain guide, is hired to take the two to the remote starting point and leave them there. But Voytek senses that Lex is unstable and refuses to leave Hannah alone with him.

Director's note:  We don’t have rituals for closing relationships. After we are left by the person who was the centre of our life, there is no funeral that will symbolically make him or her pass and leave our life. In ‘tinderised’ times, people move in-and-out of relationships in search of happiness - ‘leaving behind’ is part of the search. Lex needs to give a meaningful end to his relationship with Hannah, once his partner in life and climbing. Their last climb together, his symbolic gesture to close his past with her, will be the start of his new life.  “Help me to forget you” - Lex almost obliges Hannah and I think he is right in that. Relationships come with responsibility.

Mountain climbing and relationships have similar symbolism. Both are based on trust. “She was always second.” - says Lex to Voytek about Hannah. Both in life as in climbing, Hannah was always following Lex.  “Now she goes first” - answers Voytek, and he lets Hannah climb alone as anticipation of the final countdown between her and Lex.  In Magic Mountains the action sequences belong to her, rather than him. Actress Hannah Hoekstra demanded to do the climbing scenes herself. Like her character in the film, she is unstoppable and unbeatable.

Source/images: Wide