Not everyone is able to understand the love of reaching even the most dangerous peaks and overcoming their own weaknesses. Some consider climbers and climbers crazy, knowingly risking losing their health or life, others who have tasted the pleasure of doing the impossible through hard work, preparation and self-denial know that this feeling cannot be suppressed. Maciej Berbeka spent most of his life proving that love for the mountains is incomparable. I invite you to watch the film “Broad Peak”.
Poland is increasingly conquering the Netflix catalog with new offerings – sometimes we’re dealing with light-hearted stories like Family Games debuted in August, sometimes we’re sliding down the drain following cheap sex scenes on expensive estates in The Other. 365 Days, when to slow down a little and immerse yourself in spectacular, detailed shots that complement a touching story based on real events, you should stop for at least a moment. The latest production by Russian artists is a touching story about crossing one’s own borders.
Maciej Berbeka is a specialist well known among both Polish and foreign climbers. After success in the winter ascents of Manaslu and Cho Oyu in 1988, his goal is K2. However, the expedition does not go according to the team’s plan, so together with Alexander Lvov, they decide to attack Broad Peak. Only Maciej manages to reach the top – at least that’s what he says many months after returning home. It turns out, however, that the goal was never achieved, and the Pole was only a few tens of meters away from success. Although he is the first person in history to climb 8,000 meters above sea level in winter, reaching the summit of the Rocky Summit, Burbeca suffers a personal defeat and cannot accept the decision made by the group before him. If only he had received the information at the right time, he would have attacked the summit – but the attempt could have ended tragically for him. 25 years later, the hero may again face difficulties.
Broad Peak and defeat in the late 1980s became a stigma that Burbeca worked with for decades. And although life in the Karakorum did not end then, part of it remained in this strip. Of course, the protagonist of the Netflix film continued to fulfill himself, achieved further success, helped others – in 2013, however, there was a chance to once again settle scores with the elements. Returning to these specific mountains was meant to be a way to face the past, take stock and reconnect with the beauty of the mountains. However, there is a family in Poland who every day was waiting for positive news, but, unfortunately, it never came.
The peer-reviewed Broad Peak is a production created with great care and respect. – both to the Berbeck family, Polish climbers, and to the passion that guides the lives of many people. Lukasz Ludkowski, the writer of the screenplay, is in no way trying to judge, identify those responsible for these deaths, or present the characters in an unfavorable light. In his eyes, the Polish eight-thousander was a man who lived in love – for the mountains and his family. His relationship with his wife, Eva Diakovskaya-Berbeka, makes up a significant part of the film, though it lacks a deeper look into the feelings of a woman whose life goes on at her own pace as her lover picks up new lanes and risks his life. By placing Berbeka in the center, the authors delicately paint a picture of a woman waiting for new messages, enduring and observing everyday life and self-realization. During the almost 2-hour session, we follow reports from mountain expeditions and fragments from the family life of a married couple. Eve was above all the supportive and accepting passion of her husband – without this, their relationship would have been doomed to failure, because the mountains stole most of his heart. At the same time, we cannot clearly understand this proximity to the mountains and the motives that guided Maciej’s decisions. By aiming for a very ascetic, even emotionally limited display of purpose, the director does not allow us to penetrate into the mindset of the protagonist.
Ireneusz Chop and Maya Ostaszewska play the main characters of Broad Peak and do a great job.. They are a seasoned duo with great films in their portfolio, so under the direction of director Leszek David, their creations are at least satisfying – and above all, they live up to the expectations of the recipient. Due to the plot, the Polish actor didn’t have the opportunity to show himself too strongly in the scenes showing the climb to the top – however, most of the other shots are presented by a firm and determined person. Ostaszewska, whose work is filled with warmth, understanding and sincerity, seems to be a good addition to the film by Maciej Berbeka. Polka performed a number of roles of strong female characters, but Eva Diakovskaya-Berbeka in her performance is distinguished by her calmness and acceptance of her husband’s actions. The Himalayas is an ungrateful piece of bread that carries the risk of death – a woman, strengthened by love, despite great fear, repeatedly asks her lover to remember her family. It is a pity that the authors did not take even more time to delve into the psyche of Eve, to become more thoroughly acquainted with her perspective and take into account all the difficulties that were initially emphasized. The Burbeck marriage was shown almost like a sweetie, as a relationship of self-fulfilling people in which there is no lack of honesty, perfect understanding and agreement with the actions of a partner. In my opinion, the scene in which Maciej tells his wife about his plan to return to Karakorum seems especially strong, and she needs no explanation. The chemistry between the actors is so strong that it creates a solid foundation for a believable representation of Burbeck love.
Wishing to represent the struggle of climbers as accurately as possible, the team Netflix was the first to film at an altitude of more than 5000 meters above sea level in the base under K2 – First of all, the creators wanted to reflect as accurately as possible the conditions that the teams had to face, whether in 1988 or 2013. Lukasz Gutt was responsible for the photographs, the effects of which are breathtaking. What can I say, the biggest advantage of the reviewed “Broad Peak” is not the script and not the acting, but the shots depicting monumental peaks that amaze with their impregnability and power. The Karakorum is a huge massif – especially in winter landscapes – that deserves a lot of attention. The creator does this with remarkable attention and concentration, trying to convey on the screen the atmosphere of the struggle with the elements. Large-scale and atmospheric shots contrast with long scenes filmed in tents or showing only figures during the ascent, slightly emphasizing a certain fragility of people struggling with nature – this has remained unshakable for millions of years, and it seems pointless to do the impossible with our species. in the face of this power. Musician Lukasz Targosz captured the most important moments perfectly, emphasizing them with classical sublime sounds.