Willem Dafoe Lends Voice to Documentary 'Mountain'

Willem Dafoe -Getty-H 2016
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The film from 'Sherpa' director Jennifer Peedom "explores the troubled and triumphant history of our timeless fascination with mountains."

Willem Dafoe is lending his narrator voice to feature documentary Mountain, which "explores the troubled and triumphant history of our timeless fascination with mountains."

The film from Sherpa director Jennifer Peedom and British writer Robert Macfarlane (author of Mountains of the Mind) has been in the Cannes film market and will be released in Australian cinemas Sept. 21 by Madman Entertainment.

The Australian Chamber Orchestra will next month present the world premiere in a special event dubbed Mountain Live, a cinematic and musical collaboration that will feature the ACO performing live onstage alongside a screening of the film. The June 12 event will take place at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Sydney Film Festival. The ACO will then tour Mountain Live throughout Australia Aug. 3-20.

“I was looking for a very particular voice to carry this film,” said Peedom. “Given the nature of the collaboration, the voice itself needed to be an instrument in order to carry the poetry of Robert Macfarlane’s words and to hold up alongside the powerful score curated by Richard Tognetti. But it also needed to feel authentic. Willem Dafoe brought both those things to the film.”

ACO artistic director Tognetti worked with Peedom to curate a soundscape that "mirrors the serenity, magnitude and terror of the landscapes featured in the film." Works by Chopin, Grieg, Vivaldi and Beethoven are featured, as well as original music by Tognetti.

“The original music I wrote for Mountain was composed in real collaboration with Jennifer [Peedom],” Tognetti said. “She would tell me what she was trying to express and what the scene in the movie meant, and then I would try and come up with the musical equivalent. Some of the compositions are filmic and some of them are more like dreamscapes.”