Thursday, January 31, 2013

Kilian Jornet's "A Fine Line - Summits of My Life" - DVD Review

I just had a chance to watch A Fine Line, the first film in Kilian Jornet's Summits of My Life series, and all I can say is WOW. Stunning photography of the Alps, wonderful behind-the-scenes views of Kilian and his fellow mountain warriors, and deep emotional context as we experience the death of Stephane Brosse, the 3-time World mountaineering champion who died on a traverse attempt with Kilian in June, 2012.

A Fine Line official trailer. from Summits of My Life on Vimeo.

Within the first few minutes, the cinematography explodes onto the screen and gives you an close up view of Kilian's minimalist alpine style set to a delicious original score by Zikali. I kept doing double-takes seeing him at 12,000 feet, running through the snow with little more than what I wear on a California winter day. Where's all the heavy gear?!? Not his style. Or more importantly, not his way. And soon you see his minimalist style isn't a racing technique as much as it is his way of life. Did you know he did the whole UTMB course in two days just a few weeks before his first win, eating only berries and drinking water along the course? Yeah, I know. Amazing.

Kilian is a child of the mountains, and he and his fellow alpinists have a great way of explaining how this differs from running for the sake of running. "On the track, there is no risk so we time ourselves to get a benchmark. In the mountains, it is different. We try to become one with the mountain by finding new limits. It's an emotion, from the heart, very connected to risk." From each voice, their soul is is not a "better than you" sort of thing. It's a mountain thing. And you can see why even though he has won every major trail running race out there, he has set his sites on much bigger summits.
(Kilian Jornet's Summits of My Life goals)
My favorite quotes come near the end, where just before Stephane Brosse has his accident, they are both blissfully playing with birds and wind among the mountains. "You have to go look for happiness in life, find it in the things that make you feel alive. Life is not something to be preserved or protected, it is to explored and lived to the full." And with those words, there is not a hint of regret for his friend and hero meeting his end, only that he can't be there to share the next one. Stephane Brosse's closing words on happiness bring the film an intense closure.

Truly an epic film. Definite buy it, or become a friend of Summits of My Life for the full package. You won't regret it!

- SD

[Note - the DVD is encoded in PAL (a European format) instead of NTSC (an American format), so it may not work in your typical American DVD player. You may need to stick it in your PC or something. You can also downoad the film directly from the Web site.]


  1. What an amazing quote. It's super inspirational.

  2. Wow is right, great stuff, thanks for heads up.


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