Extremely popular film and still unseen by many. Now you have another chance.
The plan to Sir Ed’s greatest adventure (his words) was to use three New Zealand-made jet boats to travel the entire length of the Ganges (Ganga) river – from the Bay of Bengal to the Himalayas – and then to climb a peak above the river’s headwaters. In doing so, the boat crews would travel through some of world’s most spectacular landscapes, visit communities of people who can measure their relationship with Ganga in millennia and then, at the very final stage of the journey, very nearly lose Sir Ed to a cerebral edema which would have killed him in a day, had the team failed to get him off the mountain.
Film-maker Michael Dillon has made this film once before. In 1977, Dillon was a member of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Ocean to Sky expedition. On the team’s return to New Zealand, Dillon assembled a good and unusually thoughtful documentary film of the adventure. From the Ocean to the Sky was a successful and well-liked piece, released in 1979, that still stands up well today.
A year or two ago, Dillon decided to revisit the film. The men who made the expedition are now six or seven decades into their lives. Some – including Sir Ed – are no longer with us. Age and the contemplation of mortality has added insight, context and wisdom to this re-examination of the great adventure the expedition became.
Watching the film is like stepping back in time, there are many young faces that viewers will recognise, such as Sir Graeme Dingle, Dr Jim Wilson and Mike Hamilton (grandson of jetboat inventor Bill Hamilton), and their recollections of Ed Hillary’s life-threatening illness in the Himalayas is particularly emotional.
NZ 2019, 108 min, rated PG (coarse language)
Directed by Michael Dillon