• Golden Globe Awards

The Eight Mountains (Italy)

At its core, The Eight Mountains is a story about friendship. But, when taking in the beauty of the vast landscape it saturates itself in, it becomes a celebration of nature in all its majesty.
Based on the novel by Paolo Cognetti, the film centers a young boy named Pietro. As his parents escape Milan each year to their mountain retreat in the Aosta Valley, in northern Italy, Pietro slowly realizes that the vacation is really a lifeline to a marriage.
Desperate to find some respite, Pietro ventures outside and soon discovers a young boy in the village who is about his age and becomes an immediate best friend. His newfound acquaintance, Bruno, is living through familial hell. A trace of envy appears between the two. Each boy perceives the other as the one who is truly living a happy life.
As time rushes forward, we get reacquainted with Pietro. He is now a man in his thirties who returns to his childhood getaway and reconnects with his long-lost friend Bruno. As the two begin an adventure to rebuild an abandoned mountainside house, the experience illuminates their vulnerable friendship and value system. A new understanding is set against the simplicity and magnificent splendor that is their backyard.
Directed by Belgian filmmakers Felix van Groeningen and life-partner Charlotte Vandermeersch, the film had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. They spoke about their attraction to the project.
“What I particularly liked,” noted Vandermeersch during the official press conference, “was that it’s a very tender friendship. We think the whole film has a fragility to it. It’s an ode to life in all its strength, its fragility, this friendship – especially between two men, in particular.”
Van Groeningen, who previously helmed the drama Beautiful Boy, recalls reading the book three years prior and knowing the story had to be centered on its Italian legacy.
“We wanted to do this project in Italy and in Italian to discover a world that we knew less about,” he explained. Allowing time for the writing process, their first order of business was selecting the young versions of the two leading characters. With that, the directors could feel they were on the right track.
The camper van got packed. With their son in tow, the couple headed to Italy a few months before the shoot. The idea had always been to integrate into the community and learn the language.
“That was essential for us, to make the film as authentic as possible,” adds Vandermeersch. They scouted each location “at least five times, which included hiking up a glacier and scaling 2,200 meters to secure the location for the house,” she said. “The film touches upon all the essential themes of life. Making it helped us reflect upon love and friendship.”