Wednesday, March 4, 2009

"beyond the epic run" documentary review

"beyond the epic run" had it's nyc premiere monday night, on the heels of an unwelcomed snowstorm that dropped in that morning. luckily, the remnants of that snowstorm that mucked up the sidewalks didn't dampen the attendance. i walked over to the anthology film archives, across practically the length of bleeker street, from the blind tiger ale house.

it was the 4th running documentary i'd seen in the last year ("spirit of the marathon" last winter, "run for you life" at the tribeca film festival last spring, and "running the sahara," last summer"). in addition, i'd seen marshall ulrich finish his record breaking run across the united states on the steps of city hall last fall. "beyond the epic run" shared similarities with "running the sahara" and marshall ulrich's run across the united states. but the story of serge and nicole roetheli went well beyond a run across one desert, or one continent.

serge roetheli, together with nicole, his wife and one person crew on motorcycle, set off from switzerland in 2000 to circumnavigate the globe on foot. this incredible film, based in large part on nicole's own contemporaneous diary entries, documents that epic five year journey. in something of a prelude to this adventure, two years earlier the couple had completed another similar epic run. it took them from tierra del fuego north, through two continents, to finish in alaska! that, itself, would be an impressive lifetime accomplishment!

serge covered more than 25,000 miles on this journey. at one point the trip was interrupted because nicole contracted malaria, and required hospitalization back in switzerland. at another point the trip was briefly suspended when serge and nicole flew to alaska to secure renewed funding for the run. that was necessitated when the original charitable sponsor of the run withdrew it's sponsorship (b/c they weren't generating enough contributions!) - as serge and nicole completed the first, of what would be six, continents.

in scenes reminiscent of "running the sahara" course changes were made because of war ravaging certain countries. in another instance, the course was altered because they could not get permission to bring the motorcycle into the country! serge covered a marathon distance every other day. for the most part they camped out in the surrounding countryside - occasionally staying at indoors. they recorded stunning images of the locales and locals encountered on the trip.

if running itself wasn't all consuming, serge took 14 days to summit the highest mountain in south america -aconcagua! this he did solo, while nicole remained behind. the video of he managed to take of himself at the summit was incredible - as were the vistas! as if mountain climbing in south america wasn't off the beaten path enough, he arrived in florida just in time to run thru hurricane charly! and, to make us here in the northeast feel right at home (at least, for the preview night), the coldest stretch of running he did was north, from new york city to montreal! from canada they flew back to europe to complete the odyssey.

this was an inspiring film. don't pass up the opportunity to see it.

1 comment:

Tim Wilson said...

Very cool - I am still hoping to see this come to Atlanta.