Jan 27, 2010

Disciples of Gill : A Review

It was with short notice on a cold, windy evening in classroom that Disciples of Gill was screened, not the best timing or venue for a climbing film. Pat Ament warmed-up and welcomed the audience with his anecdote about meeting John Gill for the first time, worth the price of admission alone. He is natural story teller which translates to the film.

The film blends several story lines together, effortlessly and with love. The images speak for themselves without the tyranny of narration. Rock climbing, at one level, is merely moving over stone. Pat Ament captures that element perfectly. Even though the film focuses on specific climbers at a specific points in time, it becomes transcendent during the course of the film. Elements of modern dance are undeniable. Gill was ahead of his time both quantitatively, harder grades, and qualitatively, focus on bouldering and dynamic movement. There is something missing in stories and still images. It can only be captured through "Video Evidence."

I'm a disciple of John Gill, exploring natural terrain and human movement. But I'm also a disciple of Royal Robins, intensely competitive and with a desire to test myself, and a disciple of Pat Ament, a combination of precision and artistry. Despite the hype surrounding European climbing culture, I'm still American climber at my core. This film captures some of my roots.

There is a plethora of free videos that motivate me to climb. This film motivates me to be a climber.