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A daring team of mountain climbers attempt to reach the summit of K2, risking their lives every step of the way

A daring team of mountain climbers attempts to reach the summit of K2, risking their lives every step of the way

K2: SIREN OF THE HIMALAYAS (Dave Ohlson, 2014)
Quad Cinema
34 West 13th St. between Fifth & Sixth Aves.
Opens Friday, August 22

In 1909, Prince Luigi Amedeo, the Duke of the Abruzzi, sought to climb to the summit of K2, the second highest mountain in the world after Everest, bringing with him writer Filippo de Filippi and photographer Vittorio Sella to document their journey. To celebrate the centennial of that seminal event, alpinist and mountain guide Fabrizio Zangrilli gathered a team of climbers to attempt to reach the top of K2 in 2009, bringing along first-time director Dave Ohlson to capture their daring adventure. Situated in the Karakoram mountain range along the Pakistan-China border, K2 — one of the fourteen legendary “eight-thousanders” (mountains of more than eight thousand meters) — stands 8,611 meters tall, challenging climbers with a death rate much higher than that of Everest. “The will to just try something big, something dangerous, something extraordinary — it’s part of who we are,” says one member of the team, which includes Zangrilli, Canadian mountain guide Chris Szymiec, Austrian alpinist Gerlinde Kaltenbrunner, British mountaineer Jake Meyer, and German cameraman David Göttler. As they make their way across the treacherous Karakoram Highway and through Skardu, the Baltoro Glacier, and Concordia, Ohlson cuts between thrilling still photos and film footage from the 1909 trip and the 2009 attempt, delving into the history of the spectacularly beautiful area and emphasizing how difficult it is to reach K2’s summit. “Everest and K2 aren’t even the same sport,” Szymiec says. Joined by a group of porters, they find obstacles every step of the way — and it gets even more threatening the closer they get. The film reveals the depth of the human spirit and the fierce power of nature, especially when the team has to stop when a friend dies while skiing down the mountain. Watching the seventy-five-minute documentary, you just might consider taking on K2 yourself someday — and then you’ll quickly change your mind and settle back comfortably into your chair. K2: Siren of the Himalayas opens August 22 at the Quad, with Ohlson and Jason Reid, one of the producers and editors, participating in Q&As following the 4:30 and 8:05 shows on Friday and Saturday.

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