In the Alps, at almost four thousand metres, where the temperature drops to thirty below zero, a few men and women live and work in their shelters, the last frontier before extreme nature. Cities and factories, offices and routines are below. Above only sky and peaks, desire for freedom and conquest. In between are they. They are hospitality experts who must watch over tourists in search of adventure but they are also guardian angels for alpinists who challenge the mountains risking their lives, in a hostile environment where it is important to be able to adapt. Sandrine runs alone a kind of waterless hut hanging from a rocky slope, often completely submerged in snow. Armando menages on Mont Blanc a structure with one hundred and fifty seats and ten employees, from which depart ropes of expert climbers, but which can also be reached by families transported by a futuristic cableway. Venturino handles a small refuge at risk of closure, located in the most difficult area of the Dolomites. Where he lives with Maria, his nine-year-old daughter, whom he teaches the refugist job. In Switzerland, the Rothornhüttehas to be torn down and rebuilt. It is collapsing because the permafrost on which it rests is melting. Daniela will have to accommodate the workers until the building site is completed.

High Altitude is a film about the relationship between humans and nature that, through the stories of characters living extreme lives, tells of a border world threatened by the climate crisis.

Cinema and literature, with rare exceptions, have narrated the high

mountains through great feats, mythical adventures or extreme

challenges of heroic alpinists.

In our film there are no heroes.

Our point of view is that of characters who have always been outside

the mountain epic, the refugists.

They are the link between the heterogeneous visitors of a world

balanced between the romantic imagination of the past, when the

Alps seemed inaccessible and undiscovered, and today, when they are touristic and pop, where there is little or nothing left to explore, and instead represent an important economic asset that is difficult to give up. The refugists are ordinary people who manage extraordinary situations, confronting their own limits and their own (and others') ambitions, in a place full of aesthetic and narrative conflicts, which is literally falling down around them. Where glaciers are disappearing, entire slopes are crumbling and the huts are collapsing. A documentary about a world that is inexorably changing and that needs a paradigm shift High Altitude talks about our present (perhaps already memory), but therefore also talks about the future.

Director of photography
Francesco Rey
Altri credits

Davide Sabatini (Operatore drone)

Cast and characters

Armando Chanoine, Sandrine Delorme, Venturino e Maria De Bona, Daniela Brienmaier, Roni Brunner, Ulrich Delang

Executive production
Luca Bich
Stuffilm, Pulp Films
con il sostegno di Film Commission Torino Piemonte - Piemonte Doc Film Fund - sviluppo giugno 2023
Last update: 22 September 2023